Tuesday 30 April 2013

Now Is the Time

Now is the time to experience the true joy of living. In the words of Jesus: "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." The Kingdom of Heaven is here and now.

Again, when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was he said: "The first of all the commandments is, Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment."

To love God we have only to accept the moment, to embrace the circumstances of our own lives, and to be truly thankful for all that we have received. To live our lives to the full is the way. Instead we spend our lives half asleep, not being mindful, and not observing what is really happening, or not taking the time to enjoy the rich pageantry of events, and scenery that passes us by each day. We only need to acknowledge how transient life is. We only need to remember that the only thing of permanence is change itself and how important it is to enjoy the company of others, whoever they are, and to accept them for who they are now.
One of the lessons from Eckhart Tolle’s book ‘The Power of Now’ is that our distress and negativity arises from the rejection of ‘what is’ of what is actually happening or has happened to us or around us. When we settle on negative thought, we are robbed of our power to be serene, to move forward and to work for positive change. God is ‘what is’ or ‘isness’ and if we cannot embrace and surrender to ‘what is’ we experience pain and become divided against our own selves. This is why Jesus exhorts us to love God because love is surrender to the eternal now.

Intuitively we can sense the divine and our connectedness with God we know our lives are indeed short but we are also children of that same God and made up of the same energy, atoms and molecules, the same life force that pervades the universe. Time and Life are indeed precious gifts, we appear to have done nothing to deserve these gifts, the privilege of life on this earth and most of the time we take it all for granted. Sometimes when I am doing precisely that, taking it all for granted I think of Oscar Wilde’s words from his work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, these two verses speak of a man walking to his death at the gallows:

He walked amongst the Trial men
In a suit of shabby gray;
A cricket cap was on his head,
And his step seemed light and gay;
But I never saw a man who looked
So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man with such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue that prisoners call the sky
And at every drifting cloud that went
With sails of silver by. 

We can imagine the powerful imagery, the experience that inspired Oscar Wilde to write this poem, of a man coming to an untimely death through capital punishment, and the fear and that deep longing as he looks at the sky.

Wilde invites us to share that deep longing, to be there and to understand. Through empathy and hopefully, compassion we can get a feeling for the intensity of the moment for the man and for the suffering of others, that can be bring us to the ground of our own being where we can experience the love that binds us to God.