What’s Up Next?
Sunday, March 6, 2016 ~ Being “in the moment”
Inquiry: What is your experience of ‘being-in-the-moment’?
This weekend, I lost my elderly cat Totem, and in those final moments with her, I was acutely aware of how the past/present/future intermingled within my mind’s eye. In other words, my memories of a past that was retreating with accelerating rapidity from my experiential grasp, the gravity of the present moment (and decisions to be made), and my anguish in anticipating a future devoid of her presence. In a moment, while gazing upon her, I realized that I could no more extricate my thoughts from any of these past/present/future tenses as I could choose not to breathe or not to feel in a state of profound grief. And suddenly I remembered that I don’t truly believe in linear time, at least not exclusively, but have had a lifetime experience underscoring what Borges would refer to (and perhaps Einstein, too?) as time’s more circular path.
Anyway, this recalled the concept of spiritual materialism that I’ve recently been introduced to by a wise/spiritual writing teacher (in my sort of shaking my head in disbelief, chiding myself of a kind naive, rather ‘egoic’ investment in a simplistic expectation of being able to neatly delineate my experience of time somehow, as just one plausible example of ‘spiritual materialism’). Something we may explore a bit more, whether this month or on some future occasion…
“Enlightenment is like a wisp of smoke. Spiritual materialism is the ego trying to clutch at that smoke.” ~ Michael J Formica MS, MA, EdM via Cutting through Spiritual Materialism | Psychology Today
Top 10 Traps of Spiritual Materialism
By Elizabeth Lesser: “Walking the spiritual path can be a tricky adventure. Sometimes we make progress and become more free and loving and wise; sometimes we may think our meditation or prayer or ritual is leading toward enlightenment, but really we’re just treading water or even going backwards. The great Tibetan meditation teacher, Chogyam Trunpa, wrote that we are often “deceiving ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques.” He called this kind of self-deception spiritual materialism. We all deal with spiritual materialism; here’s a list, from my book The Seeker’s Guide, of 10 common pitfalls of spiritual materialism you may encounter on your spiritual journey and the key signs that you’re on the path of progress.” Continues: Top 10 Traps of Spiritual Materialism
MY BOOKSHELF, MYSELF
“Time Lived, Without Its Flow,” Denise Riley
I recently lost my mother and have been reading a huge amount about grief, bereavement and mourning. This is the only thing I have read that gets close to the experience of loss and the way in which it suspends our entire, usual understanding of time. A wonderful piece of work from the English poet.