The Kingdom of God (4)
Jan 20, 2019
The Kingdom of God (4)
“Very early in the morning,
While it was still dark,
Jesus got up,
Left the house and
Went off to a solitary place,
Where he prayed.”
Jesus felt the need to pray; that is, to spend time alone talking with that Spiritual Fire that was his soul. He was fully human, and while he could certainly multi-task, he, like all humans, required solitude to put all his energy into the effort to immerse himself in his soul. What did Jesus feel during those times? Was he “taken up to the third heaven” as St. Paul was, or did his spirit simply immerse itself into the well of that fire of the Trinity, the Christ that was his soul.
Did Jesus spend time daily in prayer? Not much is said, but the gospels do mention that “he went often”. I suspect that he did spend time daily, foregoing sleep if he had to fit those times in his busy schedule. These times came to define who he was, as his first commandment was “Love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27). And Jesus added “Do this and you will live”. Jesus was defining a life lived in Love as a life fully lived. And this is the key: to love God, who is not fully visible to our human eyes, requires that we spend time with God. How could we claim to love another human if we ignore them day after day? It requires time to keep the love of a human alive, and it requires time to keep the love of God alive in our hearts.
But what can we expect to see with that time spent? I have already said that time in close harmony with the “seventh heaven” is a bonus, but many other senses can be filled if we but patiently tend to the time with God.
One of the most common events that occurs is the sense of truly living in that exact moment and no other. Time stands still, apparently, and everything is frozen but still evolving. I have had this happen while being a Eucharistic minister at church, while looking deep within a person’s eyes into what seemed like their soul. Person after person would reveal God in wonder each time. Time was stopped, and each new person would blaze with glory that cannot be described. I have also seen this in the wonder of a new baby, especially one of mine (We have seven children plus one lost at five months pregnancy, who is still my little girl Bridget). Nature especially can provide this same sense, and a friend of mine describes a time of over an hour of lying in deep grass looking at the clouds where time just vanished. This is truly living in the Now of eternity.
It appears that this is the perpetual state of life of Eckhart Tolle (ET), or at least during the two-year episode that led to his book “The Power of Now”. He still lives in or close to that state of life, as I have heard Oprah describe a time when ET was invited into Oprah’s show that was delayed by an emergency phone call for an hour and a half. When Oprah returned and apologized, ET just smiled and said everything was perfectly fine, as he spent the time just living.
That is the power of the Now. The wonder of a sunset or sunrise, standing on a beach watching the ever-moving waves pounding the shore. I have gone to the beach when we lived on Long Island during a hurricane just to appreciate the extent and power of nature. Truly breath-taking! We have to teach ourselves to wait and watch for these moments that always catch us by surprise. Indeed, all we can do is place ourselves in positions where these moments of bliss can occur, and let go of our stream of thoughts, allowing the possibility of these moments to arise. The quiet time of meditation is conducive of these moments, when we can learn to let our minds settle down and let the thoughts drift by through periods of self-observation (observing oneself as if the observer were another person, yet still yourself; neither judging or commenting, only an awareness).
Next we will look at the goal of quiet time from my perspective, and how it affects everyday life.
Oh Eternal Life, I place myself into an awareness of your Being, now and at every moment. You have guided me, if I was aware of it or not, for over 80 years, and will continue to guide me throughout eternity. I know Your love is Who You Are, and like any loving guiding force, You often smile at my antics as I bumble through life, failing all too often to heed Your gentle call. You have given me so many moments where Your Life is blazing before me, let me see them as for what they are: glimpses of eternity amid the Love that is the All-in-All. Thank You for these moments; hold me gently into eternity.