Pickpockets pounce when, in a busy street, we don’t honour the present moment. We don’t want to be here. The desire to be somewhere else claims our attention. I am still seething with resentment about that thoughtless person who nearly bumped into me while chattering on their mobile. Or I am anxious about missing the bus and I need to get across the road through lots of traffic. The perfect moment for a pickpocket. There are a million reasons why I often don’t want to be here and now. They are all to do with either the past or the future.
Honouring the present moment is tricky. This morning while practicing my daily routine of yoga/meditation I had ideas about what to write in this post. I was tempted to get up at once and switch on the computer. I tried to let go of these persistent (brilliant – obviously!!) thoughts. They kept on stealing my attention. I really wanted to get to that computer! Honouring the present moment is tricky because it often includes honouring the fact that I am not honouring it! Of course we are always moving on, that’s life. The question is when and how.
Here in chapter 1 verses 35 – 39 we have Jesus in the process of discerning when to move on:
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’
Jesus has been an astounding success in Capernaum and still there’s lots more he could do there, so many needy people. He’s got the time (chronos) but is it the kairos? (see the post for August 13th – ‘The heart of the matter’). He withdraws to a deserted place and prays. The disciples find him and tell him, ‘Everyone is looking for you”. How flattering! Well, certainly I would be flattered anyway. ‘Perhaps I really ought to stay’. Or, ‘I’ve had enough of all these pressing people. I really want to get away’. Or, this job is really boring and the boss is a bully. We can always find reasons for not being where we are. The question is, are they the right ones and, if they are, when is the appropriate time (the kairos) to act on them and leave? It’s a question that can only be answered from a place of profound acceptance of myself, here and now, just as I am, without pretence. What if I get it wrong – as I often do? Then that too is part of the here and now, to be fully acknowledged, fully honoured, before moving on. The time to move on is usually only revealed as we learn how to wait. As T S Eliot says in The Four Quartets, “For the faith and the hope and the love are all in the waiting.” Sometimes we have to wait pretty fast. Thank goodness there is such a thing as speedy waiting!