Cloudy skies and the sun paints the edges of the clouds in silvery golden light. My consciousness stretched out wide again, I’m opening to whatever thoughts may come. I am not disappointed for they do come but not in their usual frenetic cacophony but more of a peaceful swirl of curiosity and questioning. As I notice the motion of them inside, just one begins to rise to the surface: What do you believe in? I let the thought linger in the present and reflect upon it without trying to think too much about it. From my studies in psychology and consciousness I could tear apart most things I believe. But I don’t give much credence to my beliefs as I see them for what they are, thousands and thousands of thought forms existing within my head as untested hypotheses or provisional truths stated or derived as fact from the outside world of my own perspectives.
There is a feeling within me growing in response to my own question and I relax and let it culminate into conscious cognition. It comes then, the response: I believe in this moment. For in this moment, there is both nothing and everything from the microcosm to the quantum whole of all of reality. And then I wonder a little more as I let my thoughts gently float into and out of my awareness. More questions than answers I presume as a measure of my learning and another becomes more clear: How do you know that this moment exists at all? I consider these questions and answers reflect in the form of feeling rather than thinking and the swirling then stops. The thoughts now still have me reaching with my senses again. I can only seemingly know a moment by the way I sense the moment, by the way I am present in that moment but that brings me no further certainty that it exists definitively outside the scope of my perception.
I’m not the first to wonder of such things and I certainly won’t be the last. But I like this mental meandering of sorts and its accompanying ever-expanding feeling and so stay with it a bit more wondering where it will lead me. I trace with a glance, a bank of clouds moving a little faster and lower on the horizon than the larger and darker ones nearer the sun. I watch the city come fully awake and am wandering amongst a concrete jungle. So many thoughts beg for attention and I quell them focused on one breath in this moment. This moment to me is very much like a wave on a sea. When we are in the midst of a moment there is no before or after, there is no past or future and there is no worry or care. I like how that feels but it doesn’t answer my question or address my seeming belief in the validity of a moment. Perhaps a moment isn’t a moment at all but a collective of moments woven by chains in hours and minutes or days and years. I cannot say with any definitive certainty, for who am I to say anything definitive or certain about anything even my own measure of consciousness? I think I am awake and driving my car down the busy highway. I see that there are buildings and people walking. I see there are other drivers driving and still I can’t decide so with certainty that they exist. I perceive something but a perception, like belief, is not a fact. It seems so, both – perception and belief. They seem like truth but time and time again are we proven wrong by science, experience or our own first hand observation from a much higher level of consciousness we may find ourselves momentarily engaged in.
I think the moment is as others have described and being fully present within it is like a surfer on top of a wave, there is no more waiting for it to come or considering it after, there is only the ride in the moment it has become manifest. To think about those moments awakens a part of our experience that takes the pure and pristine beauty of a moment away. Every moment is precious whether here, gone or yet to come. All of time is an expression of our own perception and I’ve had these experiences where time has stopped or sped by extraordinarily fast. Does it stand on its own outside of my experience? I could easily argue both yes and no. Did yesterday exist? In my perception it did at least as my perception of my own memories tell me. Will tomorrow exist? Maybe. I don’t know if it will. Does today exist? I think that it does as I hear the wind chimes outside playing a wind facilitated beautiful tune, while the leaves shiver and shake in the sea breeze and I hear the birds singing as well. But I must admit that each of these things is filtered through the perception that is the way I see the world. Who is to say that I am right? What if I’m wrong?
How does one master true understanding then of anything when all we think we know is based only on perception or belief? I believe in this moment, I thought only moments ago. But there are other moments I believed in too and now they are gone except in the confines of my conscious memory. What is more real in my consciousness, that which stands before me or that recalled from memory? If I go with feeling alone there is no answer and my feelings seem to react the same to memory or “real-time.” But what is real-time but a moment in motion? I cannot say even what a moment is or whether it truly exists or doesn’t but I exist as I observe it. Am I separate at all then, in my consciousness from this moment? Am I separate at all then in my consciousness from my perceptions or beliefs? Again, I could answer both yes and no. But something doesn’t sit right with the feeling within me.
If I throw out all of my thoughts and just be, I am content, sensing an ever expanding existence of consciousness of the big “C” kind. Is that the Moment? Are we creating them, the moments? Do they exist in our memory, our souls or our Spirits or are we sitting in some etheric movie theatre somewhere…Elsewhere watching some form of educational movie we call life? From a momentary experience I suppose it doesn’t matter whether when I am asleep I dream or I perceive myself awake even if by other standards I am still very much asleep. My logical mind grasps for the themes, the patterns and the constants and there is only one and that one is most easily expressed as “I.” Anything in this world or the next may follow that one tiny little letter in our very short alphabet that has meaning beyond that which 100,000 dictionaries, encyclopedias or academics of all sorts could define. We can all describe a piece from our learning and from our respective perspectives but how much closer does that bring us to understanding a Moment? I think the Moment is aligned with I. I and the Moment are one in a way that may make no sense at all.
But it’s fun to toy with my thoughts as the leaves glow brilliant green on the trees and the clouds give way to cerulean blue skies and every single line and angle in my perspective is etched in both dark and light. Now, in this moment, I have found yet again a tiny little space of peace in having no answers but questions, curiosity with coming knowledge and feeling. What would a moment be without a feeling? That, I suppose is a question for another time.
May you find joy in your life’s moments for all are truly precious in whatever manner you perceive them to be. May the light brilliantly shine upon the dark shadows of all of your perceptions and beliefs. In time illumination comes for those who know it will and already has.
© J.L. Harter (photo/words)
Rev. J.L. Harter, PhD, M.Msc., B.Msc., Author, Blogger, Teacher, Spiritual Counselor and Founder/Editor of the JMCC. See Bio section for more information.