I am fortunate enough to drive along one of the prettiest roads in Gloucestershire as part of my working week. The road runs from Tewkesbury to Newent and and no matter that I have come to know this road very well it still creates within me a sense of awe and wonder at every turn. Sometimes the sun is setting forming a stunning golden backdrop to deep mauve Malvern Hills. Sometimes a hoar frost glistens on the trees forming an archway all along to Haw Bridge. Sometimes wisteria tumbles over a red brick wall just at the turning to Apperley and sometimes ponies graze where the traditional Gypsy caravans are camped.
In every season this road has its own palate. The colours an absolute joy, a veritable feast for the eyes. When nature is showing off like this it is so easy to be completely absorbed in the awe and wonder at the mystery behind it all so that we feel at one with it, and integral part of all creation rather than a mere observer. This is what it is to be in the present moment, a pure state of contemplation. The sense of separation that we normally feel is lost and we peek momentarily into the mystic experience of oneness.
In such moments I have stopped to take a photo with my phone, wanting to capture it all, but with the ensuing internal dialogue about which would be a better angle to show this tree, or which position to best capture the light and before you know it the moment is gone. No longer absorbed in the glory of creation but rather caught up in an internal conversation about it and the awe and wonder of the moment is lost.
Sometimes though we live our lives like this don’t we? We get so caught up in the incessant inner dialogue about what is happening elsewhere in our lives that we lose the present moment all together; in so doing we lose also the sense of the ‘infinite generosity of God’ to quote the great mystic Miester Eckhart, that is constantly within us and all around us.
Is it that we have so many distractions in our lives now that living in the present moment is becoming increasingly difficult for us to do?
Yet the now is exactly the moment where we meet with God. Let us remember that God is always present, nothing will ever change that but the question is whether we are present in the here and now to engage with gods presence?
Engaging in this great mystery requires that we set aside time, intentionally put down the distractions of life for a while, switch off the phone, still the incessant stream of thoughts that bombard us and choose to meet God in the consciousness of pure presence.