The Sacrament of the Present Moment

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i thought i'd spend the rest of my time just a little sell contemplating that they sent me off to rome rather sooner to do theology this was weird of years of the council very exciting and
for barrington back for my masters at st john's college build a doctor reported the back to rome to teach we have a monastery right in the heart of rome we've always had herbert metastasis him as well as rural hermitage is and monasteries that i was sent to berkeley to found a little
urban american presence and then back here i was prior twelve years and now back greatly i'll be going there just next week for the school year right team spirituality so precludes been kind of from joining the canal police had see the world
the brother bernard who's also come out these you've been around too so we don't always end up locked up in a little room scope
our top of words and i took a very beautiful one i put these topics because i rather not just because they were leaves the bad news in obedience or something and one theory is that a person who pretences always basically preaching to themselves or at the silver conference in silver
it's that with me i think if we can live in the present our life is so much richer and up right to do this and how to do this that's basically the topic of these days
what's a yearning and seeking and a discipline it's not just limited to of the catholic church or catholic spirituality or christian spirituality of it's a practice and awareness in all the great religions buddhism talks about mine
for once just focus as does can do so
well in the jewish tradition this is a quote from martin buber of the great almost contemporary spiritual the logic of rider he talks about it modern terms time the present in terms of space the right here
emphasis on a muslim prayer card with someone gave me he writes there is something that can only be found in one place it is a treasure which can be called the fulfillment of existence the place where this treasure can be found is the place where we are
so it's right here right now was treasure for our existence
and then with the retreat is over and were driving home and it will be in the car is we're going that will be the place where the treasures to be found and then when we get back home it'll be better et cetera
but if i'm thinking about grand now i'll visit here in this place that's the basic come i think insight about the great traditions just a couple of days ago on our father i sing that had his sister visiting and she had a bug
actually three copies of it would suck here in the corner i'd rather be here now so i thought well that sums up my retreat so i stole one of them
but you're probably aware of the bumper stickers you know i'd rather be fishing or i'd rather be watching a soap opera or something
well there's a certain sad dissatisfaction all those others a humor or probably one is it that putting in a traffic jam or stuck pig
still and all if we'd always rather be elsewhere what a sad existence you know because each one of us really is here now here's the bridge will
there's the potential there's all kinds of other modalities of being elsewhere but this is really where we are so if we could bring ourselves really to be here now that's a real achievement and then we can start living and sometimes a here and now can be kind of boring sometime
times it can be a pleasant usually we tend to think it's better elsewhere but this is a discipline and practice sweat were involved in this weekend a kind of a tough one
it's a kind of a reality therapy because again each one of us really is here now so if we can face the reality it is then we can encounter the living god was really and fully present now and working through whatever is the
whether it be the fulfillment of about dreams or whether it be a little disappointing or terribly disappointing or whatever it is god me not will it does but god can look through whatever happens to us wherever we are whatever the situation is so that's the wisdom
so hopefully we'll all be people to say in a regular way i'd rather be here and i'd rather be now this is joe stefano who do to escape at december
and tomorrow he'll be making himself god watchers so we're all praying give
so this is what we're after
the problem is that there's all kinds of obstacles and challenges to this especially in our time may be it can be that it was easier and time so this might beautiful pick up but it wouldn't case we have our challenges or obstacles i think as we bring them to
consciousness would be more able to work with them and maybe work through them this on the left years a little outline of what will be doing this evening
so what are some of the obstacles
well distractions fantasies just in our imagine they shouldn't be elsewhere
if this a little circle which shall wants to be kind of the focus of a camera or wants to be a host or wants to a previous to this one here and now that's what it wants to represent yet that is the here now for all these temptations
to claim and wander elsewhere true entertainment's a distraction so fantasies through imaginations elsewhere
and up a problem with the assets that we are not only have to come up with the sat around but we have these multi billion dollar industries have a so-called entertainment distribution of often enough they're just after our buck up but so they know how to entices
and i think the extent of them is something new you know what television with all other channels i would i grew up we didn't have tell the patient until i was at a certain age but then i guess it was what cbs and nbc and hours yet so you your choice of the wonder the other and usually only chemo
a few hours a day but now how many chance can spend a whole afternoon just surfing you know just popping from here to there
it's hard to do that and really being here in the present moment which is kind of poem and all of these of images that are trying to suck as there and not want us to go on so probably throwing at us a lot of sensations maybe some violence and the be
subsector to such as television not to mention the movies not to mention radio not to mention internet not to mention magazines and newspapers and etc etc it's not all of the money could fired armed militia
this is outstanding entertainment out there that they can be such that polis of virtually away i think especially those of us who live in a intensely urban context i know in berkeley just our television baton rouge the telephone poles were covered with all these
conferences and events and workshops had a special thing so up one could be bouncing from one thing to another without really trying very hard
ts eliot says we are distracted from distraction by distraction
and that they're just levels open and i think i have guess
but really that's a distraction from that other thing that's already etc etc
so this is up a problem
we're going to have homework assignments at the end which you don't have to come back with written compositions written a but you said this isn't a spectator sport were involved in this is a participatory we're all going up for the team here so i'm as i say sketching some distractions i'm aware of in
my life they could be helpful for you what are the distractions in your life some of them good but similarly might be excessively are distracting in the etymological that they pulled him away from yourself from centeredness front of the sacrament of the present moment
and then just fantasy xi know we can come from a wild movie to just up wherever that takes this etc but so that whole area were anywhere but right here right now in our head
when we can go into the future this is a splendid capacity at the human person to see not just within twenty minutes now but tomorrow and the day after the this retreat is scheduled and then probably you have your your schedule
at your calendars for maybe years in advance this kind of this is a real human resource ah
but we can get fixated in the future through concerns through anxieties gerald me we should be wrote a little essay i think quite lovely called project mind which he says characterizes himself in so many of us so many of us were effective doers
again it's not all demonic but
but i've got a project on my plate and so i plan carefully and i might divided into phases and next couple of days over the first part and day after the next to the next and i am gather all the resources and i'm absolutely absorbed in yes
finally i get it done and that i need me get myself another project or maybe i've got four or five projects that i'm juggling at the same time that really how can pull me into the future away from present
and especially through some anxiety involved or i be able to do there since it can be a failure or if it has something to do it will i have enough money after the
a stock market keeps going down her if there's a job slow down or whatever
very often i'm not here now i'm off in the future maybe you know all kinds of again worthy projects but it can be
a problem
and then we have the capacity of memory and this again humanizes us on much worth the animals up we can recall all kinds of things about our individual pass and our collective pass and this makes us who we are so my think is not that for
get the future forget the past
these sneakers are fully human and each one of us comes with our past but we can get fixated on the patch you know it might be a nostalgia into soaking you fall in my high school year is shaping up that's what it was really the way it should always speak but it's
not so good they're going through the yearbooks again done
all that kind of think or maybe it's so
rancor you know people really hard to in the past but i'm not going to let go of that some people say i might forgive but i won't forget everything
harry that with me that doesn't help me to be here now to sets no longer here now mommy is no longer using the your dad your my older brother and whatever oh i need to not repress that it's i could separate the therapeutic thing but if i fixated back there
and it's not good it might be in sadness the things that i do to others that i ought not to have done or didn't do that i ought to have time ah
oh but we can outlive in the past also
it can very much be a up
a flight from the present the this president isn't easy to just be here always it means being here with me with all the stuff all the unresolved pain etc so it's easier to fly back to those glorious years or you sure the fantasy
size about three years from now i'll be retired crap ah some not just the
purpose of this weekend is not to propose that we just never deal with the future and ever deal with the past some new inch a current almost suggests that just always be just hear jesus said if no frog to the morrow
but she says also said he would build a tower who does not first sit down and plan whether they have enough resources that can be quite paradoxical but in the jewish ah style but you certainly saying is that this present moment it is sufficient unto itself and from
i'm here look for if we could stay rooted in the present
as we reflect on the future plan the future offer the future to the billboard in our task et cetera that's different and as we look back and the past and work of a pass or enjoying the past or try to make recompense for the pass
ah but rooted in the present this is where we want to take our stand or sit down wish
i mechanically grew it could fail where i could play or we enjoy some fantasy so whatever
if that can still be i'm not so absorbing it and coordinate that i just stuck it's a flight for myself
that's that's what it's about to come back to the present
so ah that's the leah
palm tree again if each one of you thinks about what is it that particularly d centers you throws you off of anxiety can be a big one for lots of us became the workaholic thing which can be addictive
i know they have happened to came to the point where he had to confess to himself in his community that he was alcoholic this isn't a canal to the disk and so we worked with twelve step and tan got his drinking under control he was rushing around he realized he was just slipping into another addiction which was the work of
and he found with himself it was chemical he realized that he had this adrenaline rush this was very excited this was reassuring him that he does really well by than life was important and he was important etc so hundred to slow down and be calm and
the here
and again if i have three things to do today of do them but hopefully not rushing and hopefully not trying to push myself into that adrenaline high ah
the tongue does keep me away from a serene presence here in any case if you can not come up with some ways the you're regularly pulled away from the sacrament of the present moment that's that's very helpful the first step is naming it bringing
it to self awareness of the cassettes the go on i'm not really here and quiet and serenity with god i'm just working through whatever it is it keeps going around when psyllid so sent to this morning or whenever it is so
what are our resources were gonna be looking at this extensively tomorrow
oh and up sunday morning but for me the main one is it's right here now where i really am and so it's right here now for god really is and god is just here in this kind of neutral and personal way but is reaching out
fulfill me to hear me to r to love me and can i really believe it
many of us have doubts about this is curious but we can come to believe that god loves everyone else in the world pay beach but knowing all the dark stuff that only each of us knows about ourself you can be hard to acknowledge know god really loves me unconditionally
that's a word could i think us a challenge but i think we need it to work past a basic impression that god's love for us is conditional if we do a b c and d god will still love us if we don't do a b c d or we do x y and z god is not going to love us anymore
for that's a kind of a spiritual and events ah it's not the fullness of the gospel it's there even explicitly in some asakusa of scripture but scripture is revelation evolving and building up to the fullness
of revelation in christ was all kinds of things in scripture from slavery and done human sacrifice of the need to kill others etc all this is the way describing primitive tribe understood god first and god just kept patiently working with
his tribe until you realize it wasn't just this little warrior god on their side against other warrior gods of other tribes and their god was speaker it could beat up the other kind of thing but slowly know there's one god and god loves all people and were called to beat are so
swords into plowing shares etc so and this comedy to christ's gospel school etc so it's all word of god but all word of god culminating in the fulfillment of the revelation that god is love god so loved the world that god sent cards only beloved son
on this is the heart of it and so on the covenant with god established is not a you should we think of a bilateral contract and each side has to fulfill its side or else the contract is null and void of this is a very particular type
type of covenant with god is faithful whatever we do
and that doesn't mean we can't cut ourselves off from god but it's we doing it it's not the gods stops being faithful to her stops loving us and she important thing i like the image of the sun it's always shining their the sun cannot not shy we can hide
in young basement or whatever that the sun is always shining sometimes we we not even see it because of the clouds etc but the sun is always shining and to believe in that that's the fundamental act of christian faith
impulses we have believed in above that christ has for us
there's a some have you been at the retreat at bishop's ranch a couple of weeks ago have some of this will be echo spot clean we can always said much your ticket on that a wonderful quote from st bernard who says that god can never and nowhere not love because god is love
so god is going to inevitably lead us it's just are we going to turn our back on that low for we going to refuse that love or weekend to open and we see that love and the privileged place to receive that love is in the present moment where i really am
god was in my past and my past is present to god as present god will be in my future by future is present to god now as president so was all very mysterious but i'm really here and
the place got really encounters me is here maybe when i'm working on my memories maybe when i'm planning my future but again from this place if i pulled out of this place in god cannot really communicate with me so but i can come back to this play
ace more serenely and joyfully again if i believe and as i experience that god is love and god is present and reaching out you're going through everything right here right now up to bless me
for me a beautiful parable of our lord which is a culminating moment of revelation is the parable of the prodigal son in luke ah it's luke fifteen and begin sub chapter eleven and the scripture scholars say it really in its own way sums up the
whole of the new testament some up all that revelation is trying to say
we're constantly leaving the present moment were fleeing off elsewhere were running away with all the riches we can take with us that's basically the prodigal son goes to his father your memories has give me my inheritance is already a dreadful offense to the father in the
jewish world in the jewish world the father kept the whole inheritance until death and then it asked to the sun
but the sun didn't get it beforehand of so in the centre saying this it's as if say you're dead to me i i'm off on my own you're no longer my father it's not just give me some money and don't we in effects he had to god when we flee you know
you're not the center of my life bet i'm fleeing into my fantasies and fleeing into whatever be up into this future anxiety or into the past with all the riches that i can take their which are really from god
and then again you remember the parable gop soon spins at all and he's there with the us with the pigs cinema hundred cetera
and that's usually where we end up if we break away from the present moment and god was truly present in the present moment so i'm taking up the parable from that point
but when he came to himself that's a key passage he was first outside of himself his prodigal son in pursuing this pleasure in that know but he came back to himself that's what we've got to do this return to ourself in this real present moment
he said how many of my father's hired servants have bred enough to spare but i perry share with hunger i will arise and go to my father and i will say to him father i have sinned against heaven and before you i have no longer worthy to be called your son treat me as of you're hired servants so here is getting in touch with his
past at the father's house he's remembering how that love and then he's making plans about the future but now very much from this here i am i realize this is so what's happening here
and he arose and came to his father but while he was yet at a great distance his father simon had compassion and ran and embraced him and kissed him this is clearly the heavenly father here who awaits are returned to the present moment
and we can come with contrition god knows where we'd been distracted and out playing in dumb but we come back and god doesn't need our long speeches of contrition or are acts of penance
so the sun said to a father i have sinned against heaven before you and i no longer worthy to be called your son but the father said to his servants he doesn't even hear this bring quickly the best role will put it on him and put a ring on his hand and shoes at his feet and bring the fatted calf and kill it and let us eat and make merry for this my son
was dead and he's alive again he was lost and is found
it is a kind of a death with were elsewhere
we're fixated on the future and anxiety your fantasy or when the just given over to the tapes inside and the fantasies for we were all caught up in the past and to kind of a death to are real life right now before not doing that routed to present but when we ca
come back again
god is there awaiting us with infinite unconditional love and the feast begins even though we may not feel it and we pass from death to by so first homework assignment is to up to meditate on this parable as summing up all
of gods were two you'd to me and the each one of us certainly is the prodigal son daily also as we wander elsewhere but it's a joy wrinkly to come back and up just to rejoice again and i'm enter into life again
ah and the second a homework assignment is again to work on your own a list of what draws you away and what resources you have to come back and years resources me know be different from mine
one of the participants here said mischievous was to be mischievously to be this afternoon courses whole retreat depends on me and my conferences and and it they're not any good to be anymore failure at you prefer record you know with and then i responded no go and begin
this isn't a spectator sport at up it's not that i'd just conveying to you information you've never heard about all this is a within the collective awareness of all of us but each one of us wants to work on how why evermore abide in this
present moment where some out every resource in every grace is present will be seen that so the mainland and director of this retreat is you on the human level and the really made directories the spirit who wants is to be inspired whatever i say or don't say of but inspire
for each one of us in terms of a real growing in this capacity the key thing is the doing you know i might talk till i'm blue in the face but the key is am i really ever more present to god now here are you ever more
prison to god here that some and been thing
just a brief review of our schedule for the retreat looking forward to that rooted in the present does each of you have a copy of the schedule did you get bunch of could this be passed back to show does everyone else have a copy to more
i'm so before you go
and it should you lose it gets posted also on the front door and at it's posted on the football player and it all
really ever get we don't want anyone living and anxiety
such as to go through it a very briefly so we are basically this evening now which is usually a little shorter and once don't introduce an introduction in the challenge tomorrow at nine am a the present moment a sacrament will start to
explore this language what does it mean what's the up
scriptural basis which the theology here of all this the why we say this if we can understand the why would a significant point and will use a french theologian to help us quite a bit of job pierre did khasab
yeah i practice eight times between
that history there is at the top he came up with this phrase the sacrament of the present moment i think it's a beautiful phrase it's entered into a contemporary spirituality you will be looking at that kind of the the theory if you like of the thing about remembering chester to new says there's no
nothing more practical than a good theory so if we know the why then really were on our way and the how will work itself out but in case it doesn't
that saturday afternoon i'll come up with some what i find helps to come back regularly it's basically this return to the here and now throughout the day how are various helps practices that i find helpful and then sunday morning at nine that will continue
you and i hope at that point we can also share if and again it's not a heavy load time anyone one if someone doesn't want to share that's fine but if anyone comes up with some helps that i haven't mentioned are some obstacles direct mention that might be good to bring her to and consciousness to discuss so
sunday will basically be a discussion and conclusion if no one wants to it in i got lots of stuff but hopefully it will become participatory at that point
ah it is basically a silent retreat a desert retreat but which doesn't mean that no one can talk to anyone this can be a place required talking right here in the chatroom remembering that people might be pray not only in the church but right outside on the bench of
front of the a very nikon scope of this is a good place for talking or down the meditation law or in the bookstore again usually don't fairly quietly but if someone's on the bench of on the walk their circle bitches or maybe not go up and because they might want to be quiet or
no one can greet them quietly without up we want to offer this great gift of silence which is a real privilege medium for entering in the here and now if i barraged by
noise it becomes more difficult but in the sound of silence it becomes were easy to live the here and now
oh then on sunday at eleven for those who can stay out there is the eucharist and then at twelve thirty there's the communal lunch which there's speaking at and you're all invited to that i'll think about if you can stay and if you
want to come on i'll need to take a show of hands you might want to think about it tonight but is there anyone here who's already clear that they will be here for lunch on sunday
could you put up your hands high dance one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen okay so i'm gonna put down for thirteen and then if someone tomorrow decides they haven't put it there sought in their hand but they deplete them do
and let me know and if someone drops out please like that our sign up with that
well that's basically are on our conference se i'd like to finish with a quote from st to read sibelius you she was an outstanding for living in the present moment the present moment was often for her pretty dark pretty grunge she had a tear
terrible sickness life in the convent was not that exciting the other sisters can not at brilliant and but she came to find that is were privileged place she said i prefer the dreariness of the daily to ecstasy
because up there's something real i had ground in about of the day we also need to t et etc but this is another phrase from her and up with this phrase we might then depart in quiet
it is such folly to pass ones time fretting instead of resting quietly on the heart of jesus