“If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.”
That’s Ludwig Wittgenstein, talking like he could be ghostwriting for Jean-Pierre de Caussade.
All that “present moment” business is terribly potent stuff. At times, I’m inclined to declare it the “magic bullet” of existence: live in it, and all existential troubles go away. Such a position would put me in a camp with the likes of C.S. Lewis, de Caussade, Benedict Groeschel, Wittgenstein, William James (I think), and a host of saints (including a long line within the Eastern Orthodox Church, as set forth in Kallistos Ware’s classic, The Orthodox Way).
But then why is it so hard to do? That part really has me confused.
It reminds me of the oriental tradition of squelching all thought, instead opting for complete inner silence. I tried it and tried it . . . and it never worked. I finally quit trying it, just figuring that it was beyond my natural abilities. It wasn’t until years later that I read Thomas Dubay, who excoriated the practice, saying it’s unnatural and we’re not meant to engage in such things, but instead we need to foster meditation, and let the inner quiet (contemplation) occur as the gift of Something Else.
Now, I don’t find the Present Moment nearly as daunting as those Buddhist techniques, and even though the pursuit comes with frequent (frequent!) failings, I still believe in it, intellectually if not experientially.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList