Monday, 1 August 2011
Presence and the Near-Life Experience
The wisdom of the great spiritual writers is that we human beings are too often not present to our own lives. We are in the past or the future, or too tired or distracted, angry or in denial about reality. I said to the St John's students recently that if they disbelieve me they should try to see how many seconds they can be present to their lives before some thought, feeling or other distraction intrudes. I said if they lasted 7 seconds they would be doing well.
There is also a parallel here with the complaint that God is absent in our lives. "I prayed but it didn't make any difference, and I didn't feel God's presence ... I don't think God exists." Is there perhaps a parallel here with our absence from life? We think that life is dull and boring, or that it will begin when ... or that my life would be great if only such and such hadn't happened... But what if, as Ron Rolheiser says, the fault of absence, both in terms of our lives and in our sense of God's presence in our lives, is on our side? It is easy to live as though God does not exist just as it is easy to live unaware of the life waiting to be lived!
See also Leunig's cartoon entitled " a Near-Death Experience (see picture above).