The following entries (from beginning runner to half marathon finisher) represents a continuing journey of tremendous grief and sorrow, and of transformation - largely through the therapeutic power of running. The sorrow that has broken my heart open wide has in time allowed me to experience the beauty of being in the present moment. And of course, without the support of family and friends to guide me, I would not have made it this far.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
THE PARADOX OF TIME
Sometimes you are fortunate enough to read a book which can truly change your perception. This has happened to me a few times but when it does you feel a shift in the way you see yourself and your place in the universe.
I am a fan of Oprah. Through the years I have read many of the books she has recommended and even shared them with Kristy. Not too long ago I saw an interview on the Oprah show with a man named Eckhart Tolle, who was touted as a contemporary spiritual teacher. I was intrigued by what he said and wrote his name down on a piece of paper along with the name of his book, "A New Earth".
Well circumstances intervened and I soon forgot about the book and it's perceived importance. But wait a minute! Last week I found the little scrap of paper with his name scrawled on it and decided it was time to read his book. Let me state the obvious by saying I am in serious need of spiritual encouragement at this time in my life.
This is what Tolle has to say on the paradox of time: "On the surface, the present moment is "what happens." Since what happens changes continuously, it seems that every day of your life consists of thousands of moments in which different things happen. Time is seen as the endless succession of moments, some "good", some "bad." Yet, if you look more closely, that is to say, through your own immediate experience, you find that there are not many moments at all. You discover that there is only ever this moment. Life is always now. Your entire life unfolds in this constant NOW. Even past or future moments only exist when you remember or anticipate them, and you do so by thinking about them in the only moment there is: this one.
Why does it appear then as if there were many moments? Because the present moment is confused with what happens, confused with content. The space of Now is confused with what happens in that space. The confusion of the present moment with content gives rise not only to the illusion of time, but also to the illusion of ego. Everything seems to be subject to time, yet it all happens in the Now. That is the paradox.
Wherever you look there is plenty of circumstantial evidence for the reality of time - a rotting apple, your face in the bathroom mirror compared to your face in a photo taken thirty years ago - yet you never find any direct evidence, you never experience time itself. You only ever experience the present moment, or rather what happens in it. If you go by direct evidence only, then there is no time, and the Now is all there ever is.
For the ego to survive, it must make time - past and future - more important than the present moment. So instead of adding time to yourself, remove time. The elimination of time from your consciousness is the elimination of ego. It is the only true spiritual practice."
For myself, I know the feeling I have when I remember Kristy is the most comforting place I can be. This makes her alive. She is present in the now - which is all I have. All I have ever had. When I can no longer think of her only then will she be gone. In this way she is still alive in me, alive in the present moment of me. I never had any more of her than this as the past cannot be more important than the present moment.
Today's workout: 60 minutes on elliptical trainer