When most people talk about pursuing happiness, they are seeking a state of absolute well being. The Bible tells us that the kingdom of heaven is both “at hand” and “within you,” and it is this sense of well-being that I think we all seek.
I believe who “you” really are is the essence of your eternal soul –not your human personality and accompanying historical story. That “real you” exists outside of the mortal birth to death spectrum. That “absolute you” is where the kingdom of heaven is ever “at hand” and “within.” It seems the reason we don’t experience that bliss more, is that we have overlaid it with so much personality and story, all of which is catalogued in our past, or projected into our future.
I often tell clients to stay in the current moment because that is the only place God is. Devilish suggestions try to get us to identify with our story, our fears, and our frustrations. The way to do that is to get us to focus on any time other than right now.
We cherish or mourn the past; we either look back on it with affectionate longing, or with cringing, reproachful regret. We look forward in anticipation, in impatience, or in trepidation. The future we plan for, await, or worry about. But the point is, if our thought is in either the past or the future, it is outside of our sphere of influence. Additionally, your essential soul is not involved with any of that.
Now is the only time you can do anything about. Now is the only time you can connect with your deepest self and any sense of “heaven.” And only in each now can all the infinitude and power of God be brought to bear.
What I’m starting to realize, is that if I focus solely on the present moment, I have no story pinned to me, and no past or future comes into play unless I let it. I am wide open, untouched, raw, and innocent. I am not defined by all the things I did right or wrong. I am free.
This present moment has so much inherent potency. Why do we project all sorts of old baggage onto it?
Thankfully, in the present moment, I am:
- not defined by what has happened to me
- not defined by what I have done or not done
- not defined by previous likes and dislikes
- not defined by my upbringing or heredity
- not defined by my relationships
- not defined by what others think of me
- not defined by thoughts or feelings
- not defined by preconceptions and opinions
- not defined by predilections and habits
Rather, I am defined as I was in my essential, absolute, pre-existent state: a vibrant, fresh, pure, conscious awareness, totally free from the bald impositions of matter, form, and time. And that’s what I am right now, when not obscured by all those things I just listed above that don’t really define me.
Some sloughing off–moment by moment– needs to happen to get back to that babe full of potential and unmitigated love. The happiness we really want is freedom, not freedom for your personality to wield itself unspent, but rather, freedom from any sense of self other than the most original, heavenly, generic one. Perhaps, therefore, the freedom you really desire is not for yourself, but freedom from yourself. This is the case, I realized, for me, so I’m cultivating what Mary Baker Eddy calls my “unselfed better self.”
- When decluttering the office/studio, I’m not so deeply identified with that oboe reed making kit that I haven’t used since high school. I am not losing a part of myself if I choose to get rid of it.
- Instead of painting my thousands of previous ideas, I paint extemporaneous subjects and styles that express who I am right now and help me grow from here.
- When choosing food, I can look with new eyes, instead of gravitating to the usual preprogrammed choices. What if I had never seen a menu before?
- When looking at my spouse, I see who he is right now, instead of a the veil from 28 years of marriage that blurs what is between us. And he see me for who I am now, not what I was.
- I can choose to write this blog post, instead of what I had planned to do.
- The kingdom of heaven is ever so near, both within and at hand!
Welcome this babe of the real, unburdened you in each moment this Christmas, and feel the freedom and joy it confers. It truly is the Christ, coming afresh to bless.