A little more on Presence

Last time, I was considering the idea that God ability to be fully present in the moment seems like something that might be unique to God.  Presence is a powerful thing…  Once, I would have thought that being Fully Present was something like doing a hundred push ups, or running a five minute mile: impressive, but not divine.

But as I work at this, I realize how far I am from this goal.  As I have continued to think about all of this, I have realized that there are some more things worth saying about God’s full presence.

The first thing worth saying about all this is the ways we see it in the person of Jesus.  It seems like he is always saying just the right thing in a situation.  He is aware of the things that go unsaid, and the implications of what he was doing.  He is not  bound by people’s expectations on him.  There are some times that I never could have predicted what he would do or say in a situation, but in retrospect it makes perfect sense.  Then, there are times that his words and deeds seem baffling to me, and this, I suspect, is more a measure of my failure to be present than anything else.

God being fully present gives me a different way to think about those times we fall short of potential.  Evils, mistakes, sins, and errors.  God is fully aware of the ramifications and the causes of these things that happen.  He is one hundred percent present at the moment of our betrayals.  I escape painful experiences in hundreds of ways.  God, I think, does not.

But it is equally true that God is fully present in the moments when we reach our potential.  He is with us fully at that moment we decide to turn from the dark path we are headed down.  This puts a different spin on the idea of repentance, for me.

 

Present and Presence

One part of my journey into contemplative practices is the attempt to grow increasingly present in my every day life.  I get these little snapshots, when I am meditating, of what it is like to live fully right here in now: in the present, as it unfolds.

The more I meditate, the more I find myself able to bring this into the rest of my life.  I have these moments of freedom when I am not ruled by my fears of the future or my regrets of the past.  Before I began this journey I had no idea how little I lived in the present.  I am deeply aware now, that this is a lifelong project.  If I lived another hundred years, and spent 99 of them meditating, I think I still would not be fully present.

Tonight, I was thinking about how God identifies himself to Moses with a name that works out to be something like “I am.”  There are all kinds of nuances to this, and implications, and meanings.  I think that one of the attributes of these nuances, implications and meanings is that God is Fully Present.  (All sorts of people have all sorts of ways of thinking about God as Presence…)

To be fully present: totally right here and right now…  This is no less mysterious or awe-inspring than the traditional descriptions of God– all powerful, all knowing, perfectly loving.  In the same way that the fundamental forces of physics all turn out to be the same thing at some fundamental level, I suspect that God’s Perfect Presence, and his never-ending power, and his eternal wisdom, and his unending love…  I suspect all these things, too, ultimately all turn out to be the same thing, too.