Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mindfulness - [From the Archives - 2/12/02]

It must how I’m wired.

But waking up in the morning is a struggle - always has been.

And it doesn’t matter what time I awake, how much sleep I get (assuming I’m not in one of my periodic insomniatic spells), I literally have to fight for consciousness.

When I was a teenager, my parents realized quickly, “Johnny is not a morning person.”

As an adult, a husband and father, my family has learned that I’m not really able to respond to anything until I’ve had an infusion of caffeine. Now I’m sure there’s something about my lifestyle that exacerbates my “condition.” But there’s something about this fight to awaken that really frustrates me, especially when I see and live with people who bounce of out of bed whistling a jolly tune and glad to greet the day.

Man, they make me sick!

It is that struggle for consciousness that many of us share. Some of that struggle is not physical. For far to many of us, it is a spiritual struggle to be awake in the moment.

Several years ago I was gifted with the book, Wherever You Go, There You Are.

The gist of the book, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, is around the concept of mindfulness. That is, as we go through life, as we go through each day, as we go through the present moment, there exists the capacity to be fully aware of ourselves and those around us, including God - especially God.

To be fully aware, to be fully alive in each moment enables us to embrace it. Calling upon Buddhist teachings, Kabat-Zinn says,

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgementally. This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity and acceptance of present-moment reality. It wakes us up to the fact that our lives unfold only in moments. It we are not fully present for many of those moments, we may not only miss what is most valuable in our lives but also fail to realize the richness and depth of our possibilities for growth and transformation.
In any moment there is the potential to know fully what is eternally true.

That is, in each moment there is God revealing God’s self to us.

But are we awake to see it, to know it? Part of the problem we have is that sometimes we prefer to stay asleep than to be sensitive to God’s presence. Sure, we desire, even demand God’s presence in our moments of pain and grief. But being in God’s presence brings God's call to make a specific response.

Yes, God’s presence is a gift.

But in the economy of God, no gift ours to own.

All gifts are meant to be shared.

Too many of us live dull lives.

No, I don’t mean boring (although that might apply). We are dulled to the promise of each moment. We are asleep to the capacity of living out our purpose each day. We miss so much each day because we are not living into “mindfulness.”

In the apocalyptic sayings of Jesus, time and again there comes this word, “watch, stay awake, be ready, for you do not know the day or hour the Son of Man is coming.”

That’s right, we don’t.

And if we’re not awake to the moment, we never will.

But the answer to this riddle is not hard to understand, it is just is difficult to live. The Son of Man is coming in every moment. That is the cosmic nature of the Divine.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, we understand that constancy of God as hesed, “loving, steadfast presence.”

Being the Star Trek fan that I am, I’m reminded of Spock’s mantra “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.”

Every moment, and I do mean every moment - is ripe with infinite ways of knowing God. There are infinite ways to be aware of the One we call Lord, Jesus of Nazareth.

So wake up!

Be mindful!

The God who has made you and claims you seeks your attention.

Be open to what God is revealing and leading you toward.

Oh, and in the words of Spock, “Live long and prosper.”

1 comment:

A.T. Miller said...

Amen. It appears that we suffer from the same problem.