Welcome to my blog---an eyes-open, no-holds-barred exploration of Western and Eastern spirituality, mindfulness, philosophy and literature. A member of the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association, I lectured at the NSW Institute of Psychiatry to mental health workers for 14 years and also lectured for 16 years at the University of Technology, Sydney. My interests include the psychology of religion, transformative ritual, mythology and addiction recovery.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
MINDFULNESS---A VERY PRESENT HELP IN TROUBLE
Here are two Bible verses that have always meant a lot to me, even though my understanding of the verses has changed considerably over the years. First, Psalm 46: 1, which says, ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.’ Second, Isaiah 26:3, which says, ‘You [God] will keep them in perfect peace,whose minds are stayed on You …’
I do not believe in some anthropomorphic God ‘up there’ or ‘out there.’ Such a ‘God’---or rather an image of God---is nothing other than a human construct, and not a very good one at that. For me, God is the presence and power---the very ‘livingness’---of the Eternal Now as it unfolds unceasingly from one moment to the next. We live fully---indeed, we can only be said to be truly alive---when we live and move and have our being, that is, are fixed and focused, in the reality of the Now.
The verse from Psalms affirms that this God---if you choose to use that word at all---of which I speak is our ‘refuge’ and ‘strength’ and a ‘very present help in trouble.’ That is indeed the case. The only power that can be ours is that which is found in the reality of the present moment. That is the only ‘place’ in which we can find rest and peace and solace. It is the only ‘place’ wherein we can find help in time of trouble, for if we seek that help in the past or in the future we look in vain. Indeed, trouble really only occurs when we allow ourselves to dwell in either the past or the future. True peace and acceptance can only be found in the calm acknowledgment of the reality of the present moment. I have said as much on so many occasions.
The verse from Isaiah says pretty much the same thing, namely, that if we stay fixed and focused, and fully grounded, in the reality of the Eternal Now---that is, if our minds are fully and mindfully engaged in what is taking place in and around us now---we will know and enjoy ‘perfect peace,’ no matter what happens.
Everything---and I mean everything---is contained within ‘the Now.’ All duration – or time – is total and complete in the Now. There is an ‘eternal’ quality about the Now. It is forever new. The present moment has its unfolding in the Now. That is all we truly ‘possess,’ but it is more than sufficient.
May the peace and power of the Now be yours---now and always.