Time-Tested Wisdom

Living in the Now

Time-Tested Wisdom
Sunday, November 19, 2017

Embrace the present moment as an ever-flowing source of holiness. —Jean Pierre de Caussade [1]

Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment. —Eckhart Tolle [2]

Of all the things I have learned and taught over the years, I can think of nothing that could be of more help to you than living in the now. It is truly time-tested wisdom.

So many leaders in so many traditions have taught the same thing: Hindu masters, Zen and Tibetan Buddhists, Sufi poets, Jewish rabbis, and Christian mystics to name a few. In the Christian tradition, we have heard it from Augustine, the Franciscan Francisco de Osuna, the Carmelite Brother Lawrence, and more recently, Paul Tillich and Alan Watts. Contemporary teachers Thich Nhat Hanh and Ekhart Tolle have done much to help us understand the importance of living in the now.

Jesuit priest Jean Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751) called it the “sacrament of the present moment.” His book, Abandonment to Divine Providence, was the book most recommended by spiritual directors for many decades. His key theme is: “If we have abandoned ourselves to God, there is only one rule for us: the duty of the present moment.” To live in the present is finally what we mean by presence itself!

God is hidden in plain sight, yet religion seems determined to make it more complicated. Much of low-level religion suggests that to find God you need this morality and that behavior and this ritual and that performance and this belief system. Western Christianity has largely refused to allow God to be as simple, obvious, democratic, and available as God has made (and makes!) God’s self—right here and right now.

This is what Eckhart Tolle popularized in his bestselling book, The Power of Now. While it’s often found in the New Age section of most bookstores, Tolle’s message falls squarely in line with orthodox Christianity. And, as I said, it’s also in numerous other traditions. If it’s true, it’s true everywhere!

Gateway to Silence:
God is right here right now.

References:
[1] Jean Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence, trans. John Beevers (Image Books: 1975), 36.
[2] Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Penguin Books: 2005, 2016), 41.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Living the Eternal Now (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2005), CD, MP3 download.

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