just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

Happy…Just to Be

Published on 14/06/12
by randy

Life is difficult.  Our thoughts continually plague us with desire for something different.  These thoughts take us from the full experience of the present moment as we drift into hopes for things to be as they were or hopes that they’ll change to something we dream of.  Yet, I contend that real joy for meeting the gift of the moment may be our best skill for adapting to changing conditions.  If I’m rigidly holding on to ideology/dogma that’s located in the ego/intellect, I’ll most certainly miss the ‘will of God’ found in the heart/Divine.

I’ve recently discovered a French Jesuit named Jean-Pierre de Caussade who wrote a wonderful book entitled The Sacrament of the Present Moment. It was written in the early 1700’s, and here’s what he writes:

“It is necessary to be disengaged from all we feel and do in order to walk with God in the duty of the present moment.  All other avenues are closed.  We must confine ourselves to the present moment without taking thought for the one before or the one to come.  For is not God’s law always under cover, as it were?  Something will prompt us to say: ‘At the moment I have a liking for this person or this book, or an inclination to take or offer this advice, to make such a complaint, to confide in or listen to this person, or to give away this or to make that’.  These stirrings of grace must be followed without relying for a single moment on our own judgment, reason or effort.  It is God who must decide what we shall do and when, and not ourselves.  When we walk with God, his will directs us and must replace every other guidance.

Each moment imposes a virtuous obligation on us which committed souls faithfully obey.  For God inspires them with a desire to learn one moment what, in the next, will uphold them in the practice of virtue.  They are drawn to read this or that, to observe and reflect upon the smallest happening.  In this way everything that they learn and hear is fresh in their mind and no dedicated novice will carry out her duty better than they do.

In all that these souls do, they are aware only of an urge to act without knowing why.  All they can say is: ‘I have an urge to write, read, question or observe this.  I obey this urge and God, who inspires it, supplies me with a store of knowledge which subsequently I am able to use to the advantage of myself and others.‘  This is why they must always remain simple, pliant and responsive to the slightest prompting from these almost imperceptible impulses.  God, who possesses them, may make use of them in any way for his glory.  If they were to resist these impulses, like those who depend on their own efforts and initiative, they would be depriving themselves of countless things essential for the fulfillment of future obligations to the present moment.  Since people do not recognize this, such souls are criticized and blamed for their simplicity and they, who blame no one, who are tolerant and understanding of all sorts and conditions, find themselves despised by the falsely wise, who are unable to savour that sweet and refreshing submission to God’s commands.”   pp. 15-16

I personally find great wisdom in this call to the present moment.  If we’re carried away in thoughts and our notions of identity and self importance, we can’t hear the ‘will of God’.  Yet, when we fully surrender to our connection with the Divine we’re supported to the best of our Being.  When I cultivate gratitude for this very gift of being I find deep joy and motivation to ‘show up’.  To tap into ‘divine Providence’, it’s necessary to ‘pay full attention’.  This requires the surrender of our pull to ‘our’ intellectual ‘judgment, reason or effort’.  It moves us from pride to humility, in full acceptance to the glory of God’s will.  It’s the core of faith, this openness to receive the gift of the given without question, even in the face of others’ ridicule and an outcome that may not have turned out as we had wished.  Yet, de Caussade writes, “God reveals himself in all things through faith.” p. 17.

A working formula for this practice would be, 1. Show up fully, 2. Pay full attention, 3. Be/Do Your Best, 4. In full faith to divine Providence, knowing I don’t control the outcome.  The last, an unexpected outcome, may be the most challenging, as de Caussade writes, “It is in these afflictions, which succeed on another each moment, that God, veiled and obscured, reveals himself, mysteriously bestowing his grace in a manner quite unrecognized by souls who feel only weakness in bearing their cross, distaste for performing their duty, and capable only of the most mediocre of spiritual practices.”  He goes on to describe abiding faith, an acceptance that all will be well provided on this journey, even when our beliefs have been shattered, even when our hopes have gone empty.  There is still God everywhere, fully open to experience within the present moment:

“You are seeking God, dear sister, and he is everywhere.  Everything proclaims him to you, everything reveals him to you, everything brings him to you.  He is by your side, over you, around you and in you.  Here is his dwelling and yet you still seek him.  Ah!  You are searching for God, the idea of God in his essential being.  You seek perfection and it lies in everything that happens to you–your suffering, your actions, your impulses are the mysteries under which God reveals himself to you.   But he will never disclose himself in the shape of that exalted image to which you so vainly cling.”  p. 18

Yes, life is difficult.  As the First Noble Truth of the Buddha says, “Life is suffering (restlessness).”  We’re continually grasping to be back there or over there, anywhere but right here, now, in full awareness to this next arising moment, in all its glory.  Our mind is for teasing us with, “I’ll be happy when….”, or “I’ll be happy if….”.  Why not just be happy to Be, cultivating the open mind in gratitude to the changing and our felt sense of interdependence (God everywhere and in everything), in full faith and obedience to Divine Love?

Some recent insights:

May we receive this moment completely, graced to BE, not caught in thoughts of previous moments or future moments.

I don’t have to be right, just open minded with a renewed spirit.

Each moment, Divine moment.

Each moment, Grace given.

Many minds, One heart.

I like the notion of “life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” for All creatures.  It’s deep gratitude, humility and moderation, walking with a gentle footprint.

One can’t be whole-hearted with split attention.

The experience (feeling, not thought) of the Divine leads one to hitting the mark (of kindness, joining, interdependence).  This experience is beyond words, beyond thought.  When we let our words separate us, we miss the mark, the root of the word ‘sin’.

In faith, the journey is to wake up to divine Providence…to the will of God…to hold humility in ego’s temptation to greed, power, fear and ignorance, to be/do that which is best for all with harm to none.

Lord, make me an instrument of peace.  And give me the wisdom to know the value of practice, since instruments don’t sound very good when not tuned properly and when not dedicated to practice.

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