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Time-Tested Wisdom

PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:53 pm
by Brock
Fr. Richard Rohr, long time friend of AA, in his meditation today speaks about living in the now, it may be of interest to members of AA so is reproduced here.

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.

Re: Time-Tested Wisdom

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:43 am
by avaneesh912
Eckhart adds more verses and pointers from bible and other sacred scriptures:

"Take no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself," or "Nobody who puts his hands to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God." Or you might hear the passage about the beautiful flowers that are not anxious about tomorrow but live with ease in the timeless Now and are provided for abundantly by God.

The depth and radical nature of these teachings are not recognized. No one seems to realize that they are meant to be lived and so bring about a profound inner transformation. The whole essence of Zen consists in walking along the razor's edge of Now - to be so utterly, so completely present that no problem, no suffering, nothing that is not who you are in your essence, can survive in you. In the Now, in the absence of time, all your problems dissolve. Suffering needs time; it cannot survive in the Now.

The great Zen master Rinzai, in order to take his students' attention away from time, would often raise his finger and slowly ask: "What, at this moment, is lacking?" A powerful question that does not require an answer on the level of the mind. It is designed to take your attention deeply into the Now. A similar question in the Zen tradition is this: "If not now, when?"
The Now is also central to the teaching of Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam. Sufis have a saying: "The Sufi is the son of time present." And Rumi, the great poet and teacher of Sufism, declares: "Past and future veil God from our sight; burn up both of them with fire."

Meister Eckhart, the thirteenth-century spiritual teacher, summed it all up beautifully: "Time is what keeps the light from reaching us. There is no greater obstacle to God than time."

Re: Time-Tested Wisdom

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:06 pm
by Brock
There is a part in the big book which says - “There are many helpful books also.” I have come to believe the AA spiritual awakening is designed to open our eyes to spirituality, it’s up to us to seek further knowledge and apply it. When I first read Eckhart I didn’t get it, it took going through the books a couple times with an open mind, once I felt the peace of presence I understood, now I read a bit each day and manage to stay present for quite long periods. The priest I quoted yesterday speaks about Eckhart in video tapes I have seen, says he knows him. I hope nobody gets upset with us quoting these things, (some have in the past), but it is in the ‘if it doesn't fit anywhere else’ forum.

So many AA members complain about what some call the ‘washing machine mind,’ or ‘the committee in the head,’ and these types of books show how to cut that out, live in the present and enjoy heaven right here. My Catholic experience was all about God will punish you, and be good so you will go to heaven when you die, yet here is a little more from Fr. Rohr in this mornings meditation, saying heaven is right here, if I had this sort of priest in my youth I might have embraced religion instead of turning away -
Transformation comes by realizing your union with God right here, right now—regardless of any performance or achievement on your part. That is the core meaning of grace. But you have to know this for yourself. No one can do this knowing for you. I could tell you that God is not elsewhere and heaven is not later, but until you come to personally and regularly experience that, you will not believe it.

Jesus teaches and is himself a message of now-ness, here-ness, concreteness, and this-ness. The only time Jesus talks about future time is when he tells us not to worry about it (see Matthew 6:25-34). Don’t worry about times and seasons, don’t worry about when God will return, don’t worry about tomorrow. Thinking about the future keeps us in our heads, far from presence. Jesus talks about the past in terms of forgiving it. Some say forgiveness is central to his whole message. Jesus tells us to hand the past over to the mercy and action of God. We do not need to keep replaying the past, atoning for it, or agonizing about it.

Yet, as practitioners of meditation have discovered, the mind can only do two things: replay the past and plan or worry about the future. The mind is always bored in the present. So it must be trained to stop running backward and forward. This is the role of contemplation.

This is the idea - “The mind is always bored in the present. So it must be trained to stop running backward and forward.”