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The Endless Present
Emotions are powerful entities, essentially describing a state of mind at any given point in time. Our well-being is coupled to the emotions we feel given the circumstances surrounding our lives.
But how accurate are those feelings? Let’s explore a few.
All apprehension, from mild worry through abject terror, concerns anticipation of the future. What may occur.
Guilt, shame, anger, and sadness wearily regard the past. What did happen.
And if we look closely, we see that all negative emotions are the result of contemplating a time that is not the present moment. Furthermore, the past is gone and the future yet to be. Thus we sustain extraordinary suffering for nothing that is real.
At no single instant does the body exist at all. It is always remembered or anticipated, but never experienced just now. Only its past and future make it seem real. (T-18.VII.3)
Not just emotions, but our entire sense of existence derives from delusion. Which makes for quite a precarious foundation.
So why dwell in imaginary realms if they have little to offer in the way of lasting peace and joy? Primarily because we know no better.
Is there such a state resulting in freedom from the tyranny of uncertain emotion?
Indeed there is. Toward which all great philosophies and spiritualities point.
We get a hint in the passage from A Course in Miracles noted above: the now. In fact, the course goes on to say:
This instant is the only time there is. Look lovingly upon the present, for it holds the only things that are forever true. All peace lies within it. (W-pII.308, T-13.VI)
Also referred to as the endless present, this state is one of extraordinary calm, completely independent of the apparent goings-on in what we call life.
Imagine experiencing a sublime peacefulness, at all times and in all situations. That is the gift the endless present offers. Awaiting but our steady stepping out of time and into the now.
Join me in Thursday’s class where we’ll explore practices for transcending the piercing grip of negative emotion through deliberate intentionality of presence. I look forward to seeing you then.