Sunday, February 17, 2013

only rainbows after rain

But Edinburgh is a mad god’s dream 
 Fitful and dark, 
 Unseizable in Leith 
 And wildered by the Forth, 
 But irresistibly at last 
 Cleaving to sombre heights 
 Of passionate imagining 
 Till stonily, From soaring battlements, 
 Earth eyes Eternity. 
-- Hugh MacDiarmid

Earth eyes eternity, and likes what it sees.

Pascal says that our imagination magnifies the present at the expense of eternity.
But how else are we to find eternity, except in the present?
If eternity is reality--reality in its fullest, unbounded by time--then where can we find reality except in the present? 
The past and future belong to providence and mercy, says Mama T, but the present moment is the realm of love. 
If reality is self-giving love, then where can we find it?
In the present.

"Living in the moment" has become corrupted to mean living as if this moment was your last, so fill it with every single selfish pleasure that your stomach and spleen desire.

Maybe that's why that kind of "living in the moment" sometimes leaves our stomachs growling, and our hands empty and dry.
Human beings delight in beautiful things: the craftsman ship of a Swarovski crystal-studded chandelier sends shivers up and down my spine; walking by a window of perfectly constructed evening gowns makes me skip with delight. 
But filling up all our moments with treasures is not the same as living in the moment, treasuring each breath.

Maybe that's why that kind of "living in the moment" leaves our hearts barren.
Human beings can and do seek pleasure in the moment, and agree to be cheap thrill rides for one another.
But that arrangement, unsurprisingly, ends up having all the glamour of a deep fried Snickers. We are human beings, not tilt-a-whirls at the county fair.

But if the past has slipped out of our fingers, and the future has yet-to-be received, all we have is the present. 
So don't we have to live in it?

Living in the moment, perhaps, means living in eternity.
It means, as a friend of mine suggested, lifting up the veil of time to find eternity flowing underneath.
That time is maybe a clever disguise for eternity, time clothes the reality that is always there.
And if we enter deeply into the present, if we embrace the Earth, we find that eternity runs into our embrace.
We find, maybe, that we are already walking in the heavens.

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