In the Moment

In the Moment

Pentecost 99

Sometimes life takes where you never thought you would be.  I mean that in a more of a metaphorical sense rather than an actual geographical place on a map, although that is certainly true as well.  Today we are going to discuss what it means to be, to be present, to have a presence, to recognize that we are one but one of many.  However …..

I recently read an online conversation between twenty-somethings and was both encouraged and dismayed.  The group was discussing the recent political campaigning currently underway in the United States.  Elections for a new president will be held November 2016 but the campaigning began early this year with some surprising entries into the race.

The group was discussing the polarity of comments which were based purely on isolating one element of the country’s population.  There was an open exchange of ideas from opposite sides, a conversation if you will, and basic rules of etiquette and common sense were being displayed.  I was thoroughly enjoying the discourse until someone said something extremely illiterate.

As you know by now, I don’t discourage opposite points of view.  As long as your comments are within the boundaries of charitable discourse, I happily post them when so desired.  I should note that a great many people ask that I respond but not specifically post their comments.  Again, I am happy to oblige.  What I will not do, however, is engage in a debate based upon inaccuracy or out and out lies.  That serves no purpose.  I do believe if one is going to enter the conversation one should be present in the conversation and that includes speaking from a point of personal preference and/or knowledge.  There is nothing wrong with ignorance but we do need to do more than just flap our jaws and move our tongue around our mouths in such a way as to create sound.

For the record, the conversation was about disenfranchising a major part of the population, those living within the legal boundaries of the USA.  The illiterate statement was that those from Mexico are ethnically identified as Caucasian.  They are not; they are identified as Hispanic and within that category are several other designations such as black Hispanic, etc.

As someone who almost drools at the start of the school terms each year due to the plethora of organizational tools on sale, I understand and encourage the organization of things.  With a great number of people, there is the necessity to organize them and so, while I despair of the divisions such organization has caused, I accept that being ethnically identified is one such tool.  It is not a perfect system but it is a system and has worked.  Discussing a viewpoint based upon untrue facts is not being present in an intelligent manner.

This post is, as I mentioned, about being present and having a presence.  I was going to approach it from a standpoint of being together.  I believe strongly that we need to live in a way that is present in our beliefs and vice versa.  How is your deity reflected in your living?  How do we show when we are part of a group, bound by common feelings or ideals?

I was going to say that one example is the wedding ring.  While worn on different fingers and hands, often based upon cultural beliefs and ethnicity, most wedding rings are given when a ledged is made.  “I plight thee my troth” or, in the more common vernacular, “I want to be married to you”.  The marriage ceremony is full of promises and represents a pledge, a troth made and illustrated by the exchange of rings.

Troth is a somewhat archaic term which does indeed mean pledge or allegiance.  And here is where I made my surprise turn.  It is also the name of an organization, formed in the late 1980’s.  Proudly identifying themselves as “heathens”, the ideals of the group welcome any and all forms of religion and disallow racism.   “Boldness, Truth, Honor, Troth, Self-Rule, Hospitality, Industry, Self-Reliance, Steadfastness, Equality, Strength, Wisdom, Generosity, and Family Responsibility” are the ideals they encourage.  Who knew?

For centuries heathens and the religious have seemingly been at odds and here is a group that is promoting the same ideals that religious groups have taught for centuries.  These same ideals are also the basis for many Eastern spiritualities as we will discover in September when we explore those mythologies.

I had originally planned to discuss “Immanuel”, the god that is with us.  Having the presence of one’s deity present is a basic requirement for believing.  “Jehovah Immeka”, the Lord is with you; “Jehovah Moshiekh”, the Lord your Savior; both are terms that demonstrate this.  We take comfort in this knowledge that our god is with us, near us in times of need.  I often get teased when I find a great parking spot and exclaim, “Thank you, Lord.”  It is a small victory and not one that is going to change the tides of time but, at that moment, I feel a presence, even for something as insignificant as a parking spot near the store.

I don’t believe in a deity that is only to be approached in times of turmoil.  I think we should thank and often as we beseech.  We need to be in the moment of our lives with each moment and we need to take our faith with us in every moment.  “Elohei Mikkarov”, is truly the God who is near.  I firmly believe that “Jehovah Jireh” is a Lord who will provide.  For me, my monotheistic deity is “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh”, the eternal all-sufficient God.  I will freely admit, however, that until doing this series that term is one I had never encountered.  Many of the names we’ve discussed were new to me, by the way.

We often act out of ignorance and that is, quite frankly, the best way to learn.  When we act out of stupidity, though, well….That serves no purpose at all.  The discussion of the group of young adults I mentioned earlier contained such stupidity.  Were they truly in the moment of the discussion or was that one individual simply stretching his/her ego?

So here we are.  Instead of wrapping up with repetitions of earlier questions, questions that do need consideration at some point – questions like “How is your deity reflected in your living?” or “How do we show when we are part of a group, bound by common feelings or ideals?”, I ask you this.  How often do we live the moment based upon the tenets of our beliefs and how often do we live in the moment by just stretching our ego?

I planned to write about having a spiritual presence and feeling it.  Instead I find myself wondering how often we let our ego be our guide.  Do we speak with the love, charity and kindness of our beliefs or do we speak to propel our stature?  I am far more comfortable thinking about religion than confronting what may be my own avarice narcissism, I freely admit.

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, claimed ego to be the enemy of compassion.   “The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion, and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.”  Perhaps the best way to live each moment, to be present in not only our living but also in our beliefs, is to not have discussions of religion and spirituality but to simply lose our ego, shed it like a butterfly sheds its cocoon.  Maybe the best way to be present in the moment is to get lost in the compassion for another.