This new year began just a little over four weeks ago. We might want to take time to notice if it still feels new, or if it seems to have aged prematurely! Are we still excited and curious about new possibilities for experiencing Life this year, or have the same old thoughts and the same old ways of doing things taken the shine off of its symbolic newness?
Our LEC theme for this amazing time in our Earth life is “It’s 2023 I’m free free free,” and even though that remains true every year no matter what the date, unless we intentionally remind our self that we are free to be our self Now, without worldly restrictions that don’t apply to us spiritually, we might let all the supposed to’s and not supposed to’s, and all those should do’s and shouldn’t do’s invented by the world keep our self-expression small and limited through our agreement to go with the world instead of going with the Flow.
The most simple way for us to live a spiritual life, to live each moment with spiritual awareness that brings joy, health and peace of mind every day, is simply to know this one thing: God is all there is to you and me, and all that exists, and God is Love. When Jesus was asked about the Greatest Spiritual Law, he said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your power and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest Commandment. And, the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” There aren’t a lot of complex rules for living a spiritual life. We’re simply directed to Love. We are free to think this and that, say this and that, and do this and that, and all that’s required of us is to Love as we think, say or do it.
We can spend this lifetime, or many lifetimes, reading about the meaning of life. We can get good at quoting those who seem to have discovered it. Or we can simply give meaning to own life by being the Love that we are, wherever we are, no matter who shows up for us to Love, including our self. Love sets us free to be more of the One we’re created to be, more of the One we are NOW—Love. It sets us free to accept each other as an expression of the One Love that is all there is, the One Love we share, no matter what appears to be.
In our focus this year on our feeling our spiritual freedom, we have been talking a lot about the Present Moment. We’ve been talking about It as if there were nothing else to talk about, as if the Present Moment is all there is, because It is. It’s the only place Life is happening. It is the timeless time and spaceless space in which we can love Love with all our heart, soul, power, and mind, and share the Love that we are together.
The mystical poet, Rumi, wrote: “Pure Love offers us clemency from every previous thought we entertained that we want to change now because It holds no record of wrongs.” The Present Moment is Pure Love, untouched by anything that has occurred in the world at anytime, and when we’re in the Present Moment so are we. We experience forgiveness of our self and others because the Present Moment, Pure Love, doesn’t contain the past. Only our human mind can hold such a record. The Holy Emptiness of the Present Moment is Full of Love and Infinite possibilities for Love’s expression that haven’t been expressed before.
And, even though we can all get there from here because we’re already there right here, we can only become aware that we are aligned with It, and open to all the good that arises within It, when we observe the Present Moment without an opinion or conclusion. We can’t have a judgment, or reach a conclusion about anything without something from the past to base it on. Judging is thinking the Present Moment is something we’ve seen before or fearing what might happen next based on past experience. Judging requires a past thought that we are deciding to hold onto that the Flow of Life has already moved on from.
In his book, Wherever You Go, There You Are, Jon Kabat-Zinn defined mindfulness as “awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judgmentally. He called it a “Radical Act of Sanity.” His research proved that mindfulness can “help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.” There’s a whole lot of Power in the Now, and that’s just what It can do for our physical body! The Present Moment offers us health, peace of mind and a sense of well-being because It doesn’t carry a record of the past to painfully regret or a fated future to stress out about or lose sleep over.
Like a new year, like a new day, the Present Moment is new. It’s never happened before. It holds nothing we no longer need, yet It holds all we want right now. It’s full of new possibilities between what was and what might appear next. No matter where we’ve been, and no matter where we’re going, here we are right now. Whatever has happened, has already happened. Whatever we’re thinking right now, that is what’s on our mind. And, whatever we wind up doing next, that will be what we have wound up doing.
It is one of the conundrum’s of this human experience that no matter how much we want things to be different, and no matter how hard we try to forget about the self that’s been shaped and molded by our past, there’s just no getting away from who we believe we are, wherever we are. We can go vacation and there we are. We can win the lottery, and there we are. We can move across town or across the ocean, and there we are. And, wherever we are we’re looking out of the same pair of eyes that reflect what we believe is true based on the past, unless we choose right now to see things differently.
Often we’re so tired of experiencing the same old life, and feeling like the same old us in it, we try to distract our self rather than change our point of view. Our mind is like a “drunken monkey,” as Buddha called it, doing its best to distract us by jumping from a thought of fear to another of drama to another of regret and to another of worry. In the Book of 2 Corinthians we read, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Now is the only time we have to choose to change the direction of our life, to choose thoughts that cause us to feel joyful and free in the Present Moment, and will attract more joy to us as our life unfolds.
The only thing that keeps our moments from feeling new, the only thing that keeps us feeling like we’ve been around the block more than a few times, is thoughts from the past that muck up our view of the new, in us and around us. If we want to be someone we want to go on vacation with, spend our winnings with, move somewhere with, or stay right where we are with, we need to see our self with new eyes so that we enjoy our own company.
That newness can only come from the Holy View within us. We read in A Course in Miracles, “Listen and learn, and do not judge. It is to God you turn to hear what you should do.” When we listen without judging, without an opinion of what we should hear, or if we’re worthy to hear anything at all, we’re able to hear, soft and clear, the Voice of our True Self speaking to us of the Love that Is, of the Love we are, of the the Love that is right where we are. And, since wherever we go, there we are, there must be Love there too.
If we find it difficult to love our self or someone else in any moment, it’s likely because we’re not keeping it simple and simply loving Love, and loving to Be Love with all our heart, soul, power, and mind. If we find it difficult to forgive self or someone else, we’re trying to forgive with the ego and it’s not capable of forgetting the past because it is the one that holds records of wrongs! Because the ego believes itself to be separate from all others, it can’t love another as if that one is one with it. But when we’re in the Present Moment on purpose, non-judgmentally, ego thoughts can’t enter. Then we’re able to hear our Inner Being as It speaks to us of our Oneness with all that is and that All-That-Is Is Love.
The world becomes magical and new when we’re intentionally in the Present Moment because when we see it mindfully, we see it and hear it and taste it and smell it and touch it as if for the first time. We’re without preconceived ideas of what should or should not be there—no rules or restrictions, simply Life being Life, and Love being Love, in us, through us, and all around us—And, we are free free free to let It be.
Choosing to focus on the Present Moment, intentionally, on purpose, and without judgment, means accepting that we will never be someone other than who we are, and that who we are is absolutely wonderful, just as we are right NOW. We are as free in this mystery of Life as our Creator, as free as we’re created to be, boundlessly free. When we keep our mind clear of confusion and fear, we simply know that God is all there is to you and me, and all that exists, and God is Love. And, all that we want to do is KISS the world with that knowing!