LOTUS OF THE HEART
Living in Love beyond Beliefs
All is Welcome here
The Sage was asked, "What does it mean to live an enlightened life?" He said, "A leaf fluttering toward the ground."
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I was vowed in 1995 to the Sacrament of the Present Moment. The intent is to live fully this moment, for all Grace is present now. I say intent, for vows are intentions, and we fail to live them fully-I am confident we can find a parallel to this in marital vows. In religious vows, there is no sense of necessity in living the vow, such as, "I must do this" or "I've got to do this perfectly." When we see we have veered from the vow, we return to the intent. The intention arises from the desire of the heart, as a way to live the Way. In this, we find the vow is not constraining but freeing.
Some readers might think I am writing something that has nothing to do with a person not living religious vows. Wrong. Such vows are mirrors of wisdom for all; we take only vows intentionally to live what everywhere would be wise to live, even if not to the same degree. Hopefully, this will become clearer before the end of this writing.
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This Sacrament of the Present Moment appears easy, and it is natural, however, I have found it most challenging. Almost nothing around us encourages us to live wholly this moment. We easily become divided persons, rarely, if ever, entirely anywhere. And a holy life is about living a wholly-here life, a wakeful life. This teaching is a point where contemplative Christianity and Buddhism meet.
The spiritually awakened being responds in the moment to what Life offers him or her to do, whom to be with, or maybe to be alone and not engaged in helping anyone. To live by the Light is to be an open vessel for what Grace gives us. Hence, let us look at the matter of what Christians have traditionally called Divine Providence; we do this realizing "Divine" is an archetype that moves across theistic and nontheistic sects, even as Grace does. The words change, the Reality remains the same.
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Essential to the Sacrament of the Present Moment is what Christian monastics and contemplatives have called Abandonment to Divine Providence. The classic text on this wisdom is Jean-Pierre de Caussade's (b. 1675) Abandonment to Divine Providence. Providence means, literally, "to see ahead, before."
The key in this way of living is to trust the Divine sees ahead, meaning we do not need to see ahead. At this moment, we are awake now, not having to be awake to anything past or future. There is no past or future except as an idea, anyway. And life is always in change by potentially an infinity of causes, so I cannot assume there is always a single future awaiting anyone. To me, Divine Providence entails knowing that Grace is and will be present to accept and live a life of loyalty to Life, moment-to-moment. Along with this is recognition that the Divine sees into what is yet to be, for that is already within what is.
I had a friend who told me of his friend avoiding a car accident. The friend drove toward a stoplight. The light was green, so a sign to continue. He heard a voice, "Stop!" He did. Another vehicle moved through a red light into the path he would have entered. Why do such things happen? Why not always? We do know too many have like experiences, for example in intuitions, to deny providential insight into the not-yet. Again, however, there is no pure not-yet, as life is in process. There is never anything happening outside the causes-and-conditions of this moment. So, whatever our spiritual path, trustingly living in the moment is imperative; anyway, if we are to receive any insight into the apparent future, that insight can only come now.
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These matters of Sacrament of the Present Moment and Abandonment to Divine Provide pertain to the question, "What good shall I do with my life?," or, for a theist, "What is Your Will, my God?"
Seeker: I've been seeking the Will of God. Yet, I've not found it.
Sage: You don't find it, so stop seeking.
Seeker: What? Then how am I to do it?
Sage: It begins now.
Seeker: With what?
Sage: What's happening now?
Seeker: Whatever's happening now.
Sage: The Divine Will begins there; it starts with how you relate to what is already present. If there is more specific guidance for you, that will meet you by your fidelity to the moment.
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Dallas Willard, in Hearing God...
In many cases, our need to wonder about or be told what God wants in a certain situation is nothing short of a clear indication of how little we are engaged in His work.
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I was lying on an airbed after 1 AM, alone as always at night, not able to sleep. Words ascribed to Jesus twice, in the Lord's Prayer and the Garden of Gethsemane, came to mind-“Thy Will Be Done.” These words have often encouraged me to remain surrendered or surrender again to the Light.
This night, something shifted. I did not speak a word, yet prayed inwardly. All the little sensations in the body arose to awareness. Attention moved from one sensation to the next.
All this happening became “Thy Will Be Done.” Realization arose that prayer was happening, every sensation and movement, perception itself too, was that Thy Will. Now, "Thy Will Be Done" was "Thy Will Being Done" or "Thy Will Happening Now." Pure prayer is without a tense, is in movement, and so is the fulfillment of the Will. Indeed, this fidelity to the moment is prayer, and prayer is the Divine Will coming to fruition, moment-by-moment. Obedience is as simple as being awake to and involved with this moment, not dividing the moment and the self, not being partially here and partially somewhere else.
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As long as I am seeking the Divine Will, that keeps it at a distance. That Will is an object. The moment I realize the Divine Will is now and relax into this moment, that is intimate. In that intimacy, the Will and you become one subject. Then, you are falling in Love with Life, for Life and the Will are one Reality. Loving, then, becomes Life moment-to-moment.
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©️ Brian Wilcox, 2020
Brian can be contacted at email@example.com; his book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, is available through major online booksellers, including Amazon and Books-A-Million, or via the publisher, AuthorHouse.