6. An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment
Spiritual life takes place in the present moment. Spirituality is much more concerned with here and now, than with there and then.
Christianity for too long has been portrayed as concerned primarily with “pie in the sky in the sweet by and by.” Too often the gospel has been caricatured as nothing more than a get of jail free card so that, in the end we can escape the torments of eternal damnation in the fires of hell after we die. Apart from being an entirely self-serving vision of the spiritual life, this desperately diminished view of the gospel, ignores the present moment and divorces faith from the lived realities of daily life.
In fact, Jesus was concerned about life in this world. He came to demonstrate a life that is richly and deeply human. He died, rose from the dead, and sent the Holy Spirit to empower all human beings to live fully in the moment. How tragic, even if the death of Jesus opened for us the way to life after physical death, to have never truly lived while in this physical time-bound material realm.
When we spend our lives focused on the future, or tortured by the past, we miss the present moment. We lose touch with the place where time and eternity intersect which is the place where God is known. That time is now, here in the present circumstances of our lives just as they are.
Paul wrote to the Romans saying,
you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. (Romans 13:11)
And to the Corinthians Paul suggested,
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! (2 Corinthians 6:2)
Paul is concerned with “now“. The time to wake up is now. Today is the day to become more aware, to open more fully to the stream of life that sustains all being and is present in all of creation.
The realities of our life circumstances in this moment are the place for us to grow in our ability to live the spiritual life. We do not need to go somewhere else. We do not need to wait for another time, another person, another lesson. We need only to open to the realities of this present moment, live deeply into our situation as it is here and now. The depth dimension of life is always available. We do not need to remain trapped by the surface realities of our lives no matter how complex, confusing and challenging they may be. It is always possible now to open to the depth dimension of life.
We prepare for the future by living fully in the present. We redeem the past by living lives today that are more whole and more grounded in the present. When I project into the future, or languish in the past, I lose today. The present moment is the place in which the gift of life resides. No matter how difficult in may be, now is always available. And the Presence for which I long is always here in this moment.
nb: since I started posting these “12 Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening” I have been directed to their original source – please see: http://www.symptomsofinnerpeace.net/Home.html