2/06/2017

A Call To Radical Presence

"One who expects nothing enjoys everything." (Francis of Assisi)

What is Salvation if I cannot save my own awareness? What is Prayer if I cannot meet the Spirit in this breath? Where is Heaven if I cannot feel it in the soles of my feet?

The present moment is not a vanishing point between the past and the future. The present moment is a vast and radiant kingdom, where the boundaries of past and future dissolve like shadows at dawn. Can you rest in the bounty of not-seeking? This wealth is always available. Let your breathing be the gesture of Grace. Let your mind be the flowering of Now. This is the new way to solve every problem...

We have come to the end of a phase in human evolution. This phase brought us the scientific method, deductive reasoning, the teleological theology of Christianity: all attempts to impose an ideal future on the present moment, to change the world according to a plan. We need not abandon these tools when they are useful for specific immediate problems, but we desperately need to transcend the world-view which gave rise to these modes of problem-solving. It is time to step into the new way.

At first, this way seems irresponsible. But if we have the faith to try it, we discover that Radical Presence is the ultimate response-ability. In Presence, we can respond to what is, not reacting from thought-patterns of our past conditioning, but acting from our core-silence. We no longer need to impose pre-conceived ideals about how things should be. We no longer argue from an entrenched position, inattentive to the needs of others. We see clearly that any "ideal" is an attack on the real, and "improving" the world is an attack against Being.

Honestly examine your plans and see which ones were successful and which ones were not. In every case, you will see that the plan failed unless it changed. Your creativity, responsibility and life-energy were in the moments of change, not in the plan. The moments when you responded to the Now and modified your plan were moments when you were truly living. For life is all in the present moment. Creativity never arises from the past. The only plans that work are the plans that change.

Before we devastate our economy, our environment, and our spirit with one more plan for the future, let us live! Give up hope. Give up idealism. Give up the future. This is real responsibility, and real courage. "Courage" derives from the Latin word for "heart." Courage means living from the heart, which is only possible when we are present.

The truth is, all our plans have been based on an illusion: the future does not exist. That is why Jesus said: "Take no thought for tomorrow." And in the Bedda Karatta Sutta, the Buddha taught: "The past no longer is. The future is ever unborn. But deeply observe the present moment, just as it is, and you shall attain the peace and unity of the ancient masters."

In the heart of the present moment, there is a timeless core of silence that is the ultimate power in creation. It cannot be attained by thought: only by resting in the source of attention, before any seeking arises. In practical terms, this means declining the temptation to conceptualize anything.

The Western scripture calls this "sabbath rest." The literal meaning of the Hebrew word Sabbath is "stop." Stop the mind. The real Sabbath is the resting of the will to think.

All contemplative techniques are simply tricks to short-circuit thinking and stop the mind. Do we have the courage to stop? Can we listen deeply together, dwelling in the hermitage at the center of the soul, deep in the wilderness prior to any concept? Only then and there does the graceful energy of Love re-create the cosmos through our silence.

This is the new way to transform the world. In the past, it was a way for the forest monk, the contemplative. But we will do it in household, market place, and community, as we open to divine silence in the midst of action. Our community will be an unfolding of Presences, rather than a competition of egos.

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