This Moment

Photograph © 2012 Peggy Kornegger
Photograph © 2012 Peggy Kornegger
“There’s only now, there’s only here.
Give in to love, or live in fear….
No day but today.”
—Jonathan Larson

Life experiences involving loss, pain, or fear, which we all encounter at one time or another, may throw us off kilter at first. We are often so attached to a particular static version of reality that we cannot accept change of any kind. But if we remain open to the totality of what is before us, we can access a greater wisdom: Life is both fleeting and eternal. We can see this seeming dichotomy with more clarity in times of difficulty or challenge. The tenuousness of life hits us full force. We realize that all we ever really have is this moment, but it contains all of eternity within it. With that awareness, we can appreciate every single second as if it were our first or our last. We can “hold Infinity in the palm of [our] hand, and Eternity in an hour,” as William Blake has so eloquently written.

The uncertain health diagnosis about my eyes that I’ve been living with over the last weeks has placed this wisdom front and center in my life. If I race forward in my mind with what-if scenarios or retreat backward into fear and regret, I have lost the moment that is right in front of me now. No matter what events are transpiring, this moment before me contains all of life. All of it, both extraordinary beauty and acute loss. When I can hold both of those parts within me in a complete embrace of acceptance, I am at peace. If I can witness my life as it unfolds, without judgment or expectation, fully grounded in the present moment, I am free.

It is not always easy, and I am not always calm and centered, but an ongoing practice in stillness and conscious awareness has helped me tremendously. As I sit in silence, breathing slowly and deeply, I open to an expansive awareness that is observing and experiencing the world through me. This awareness at the soul level is completely neutral, peaceful, and unlimited. It is pure spirit, pure love, in the largest sense of those words. Within that space, there is no struggle. Everything is just as it is, in perfectly orchestrated symmetry. Peace of mind, peace of heart and soul.

As I have faced the fragility of my own body and my own life, I have come to an ever-greater appreciation of each moment. I have surrendered again and again to uncertainty and shifting sands. It’s truly a never-ending practice, letting go into not knowing anything, into living each moment fresh and innocent of opinion. Adyashanti calls this “falling into grace.” And grace can be gentle or cutting; it will open your heart in whatever way it can. For with an open heart, we live in gratitude. We live in love, not fear. And that is why we are here on this beautiful blue planet, in this infinite universe.

My journey is not complete, nor will it be complete, ever. I continue to open my heart (and have it opened for me) in gratitude, embracing more with each breath, with every experience. In this moment—the fleeting and eternal now—I am grateful for all the blessings that fill my days: Light and darkness, sadness and joy, silence and sound, movement and rest. The flow of giving and receiving all that life so generously offers us. When I allow myself to stand naked and awestruck, freed of assumptions, before the vast universe, realizing my cells are intermingled with the stardust from distant galaxies, I clearly see and feel the oneness of which we are all a part. A oneness encapsulated in every single grace-filled moment.

 

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