In the Here and Now – part 2

So, here’s another example of the Here and Now.

A lot of my time over the last few days have been taken up with thinking about my current projects: Lisa’s first week of school, my Mom’s trip to the hospital, tasks at work, starting a new exercise routine, writing and recording some meditation music for Connie’s video, the Here and Now drama.

Each of these is a lesson in itself. Each of them has been succesful in its own way in grounding me in the Present. Each also carries with it the temptation to move into Past, Present and Elsewhere.

Three simple ones to consider: Lisa and school, Mom and the hospital, and the music.

This school year is off to an amazing start. Lisa chose to start the day earlier (a real challenge around our house) and come home earlier. She has a very clear idea already of which are her favorite subjects and which will require a bit more work – and she’s willing to jump in and do it. Talking to her at the end of each school day is a truly Grounded in the Present experiene. Her level of excitement and enthusiasm about what she’s done so far is addictive. But the temptation is there to think about the Past – trips and things we didn’t quite get to over the summer – and the Future – what it’s going to be like in 2 years when she’s starting college.

Staying in the present was much easier today at the hospital with my Mom. Even though I understand that it’s a fairly common procedure and even though everything went well, it was still major surgery.  Nearly three hours. My brother Vince and I went back into the post-op recovery room to see her before went up to her room. There’s nothing like seeing your Mother in a hospital bed with tubes and IVs all around to snap you into the Present and keep you there. The Past comes sneaking in – we never finished indexing the family’s hundreds of slides, did we? – and the Future creeps forward minute by minute as the details of recovery start settling in.

Music. Ah, yes. Time and Space and Music.

I’ve finally learned that if I sit down and start recording, I’d better write the rest of the day off. Time and Space completely disappear. Well, Time does. Space is still there – I’m forever bumping into a mic stand or knocking over a bottle of water – but Time warps in a way very similar to the way it warps when you’re surfing the Net. You sit down at 9 p.m., look up at the clock at 9:10, then five minutes later it’s 2 in the morning. You’re totally absorbed. The Present second is all there is – whether that’s

All three of these are, I think, typical ways most of us experience Being Present. Think about your best moments with family and friends, with hobbies and passions. What could be more rewarding than being lost in these moments of Presence?

No comment on the experience of being Present during visits to the gym tho. That one, you either love or hate and I’m not going to try and influence you one way or the other.

In the Here and Now – part 1

Last Saturday, our minister Doug Paterson gave a sermon on the theme “Here and Now’.  (If you want to see what he did with it, you might check out the FUMC-Ann Arbor website and look for Online Sermons. It wasn’t posted as of Sept 15, but I expect it will be soon.) The theme fascinates me in a variety of ways – not the least of which is that it triggers George Harrison’s “Be Here Now” to keep playing over and over in my head.

The subjects of time and space –  he used the phrases “Eternal Now” and “Ubiquitous Here”. I started thinking down the paths of Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence and the notion of Sacred Places in many different traditions. Then, switched tracks to thinking about God-in-time and God-outside-of-time.  And “where?” do we find God? Or religious experiences?

Got very excited about it. Talked to Doug after the service – he was thinking more of Tillich and his idea of Eternal Now. Cool.

I decided it would be fun to write a drama about the theme. We need to live in the Present. But how? And how to talk about it? Guys sitting around in a coffee shop talking about the relativity of our experience of time and space – waiting for coffee that never comes because that would have to happen in the Present and everyone at the table is mired in the past or projecting toward the future.

Maybe some of them pop in and out of existence – their grip on Time and Space so compromised by overactive intellects and their own commitment to abstract theology that they can’t even EXIST in the present, let alone appreciate it.

Then the idea of Place. If it was true that “the Kingdom of God is among you” in the 1st century, then it must still be here. But I don’t see it. Well, maybe, maybe not. Think of it as a dimensional shift (a perspective shift for the more psychological among us) and you get a different notion of “Here”. How to roll that into the play?

Not sure. Not sure I will at all. Now, my notion is driven more toward a groups of parents talking among themselves about childrearing – all the while ignoring their children (who are FIRMLY grounded in the present as any parents know) and their needs. “We are busy discussing matters of consequence,” they might say.

Oh heck, that’s already been used.

OK, back to the drawing board.