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This Time Around

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      Michael Gray

        ‘Soaring’ – Image by Steven Iodice from Pixabay


        I like to think that it’s possible to carry along what we have learned from previous explorations so that, as we shift into new ground and fresh interests, we can more effectively fathom each new situation. Behind this hope, lies another: that I will recollect what I originally wanted to learn in this lifetime.

        I guess there is a tone of reincarnation in that way of looking, but even if this is our one and only embodied existence, we may still have had a sense beforehand of what we were getting ourselves into. We don’t have to have been in a series of lifetimes in order to make good choices in this one. And if this is the only journey that we will ever take across the rolling waves of space and time, wouldn’t it be a thrill to unfurl our sails and breathe the salt air that is already blowing across the gunnels?

        I understand that it’s easier to imagine ourselves embarking on an adventure than it is to actually launch into something new. But, I’m not aware of any other way to invoke fresh energy than to embrace a vision of what we hope to discover in this life.

        It appears to be an unbreakable axiom of how time operates that only the present moment is within our reach; that the past is over and the future has not yet arrived. But there is another way of relating to time. The present moment is not just a dividing line between an unreachable past and a future that we cannot enter. The present moment is nothing if not a doorway into the wholeness of all of time. This greater time is like an ocean whose surface extends beyond the horizon in all directions and whose unseen depths, plumbed by sperm whales on a single breath, are not the less present because our bodies are on the short leash of mortality.

        In this unbounded time, there is no past forever gone and no future beyond the heartbeat of living aspiration. The temporal signposts that we live with are just the way we have learned to view the dynamic wholeness of an infinite living cosmos; we are visitors to this world arrived from the infinite realms of time and space. We may be just a flashing glimmer of reflected light in the vastness, but if we allow ourselves to inhabit a vision of greater life, then, who knows, we may discover that we have always been free to fly across fields and mountains, and are free to plumb the ocean depths.

        Of course, we will soon be back in our corner of the world, ready for another cup of coffee. But don’t be surprised if you see a drop of sea water on the morning paper. We can never be sure who has just shown up from what distant galaxy and landed in this body.

        We may have little choice but to see things as they appear to us from our perch in the culture and the century in which we have been born; but we have not been sentenced to remain stuck in this nest of our current beginnings. We don’t have to believe the prevailing message that we are just another flightless bird with no way to lift off from the branch on which our nest is woven.

        What if this life is just one breath in a deeper breath? What if the purpose of our current nest is to entice us to its edge, to close our eyes, and let the wings we didn’t know we had unfurl, so that the wind can carry us into a freedom that has been patiently waiting for us?

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