Relating to the Moment with Innocence
by Roland Trujillo
At this point, it might be useful to point out how we ought to relate to the moment, because it is in each moment that our character is maintained or changed--for better or worse.
The way to relate to the moment is with innocence. This we can do by way of the proper meditation.
The other day I was listening to a radio preacher and as he was telling a little allegorical story, he said something profound. He was telling how the devil was trying to corrupt a very decent person. He sent some of his underlings, and they tried various things, such as offering the person wealth, power and so on. The underlings reported back to the devil that they were not having any success. When he found out what they were trying, he said: “your tactics are too obvious and won’t work with this good person.”
“What you must do is wait until he goes for a walk in the morning, and then instead of telling him it is to enjoy the morning, whisper to him that it is to exercise. When he reads the Bible, instead of letting him simply enjoy it, whisper to him that it is to have knowledge to impress people, and so on. When he goes out to work in his garden, tell him it is to improve the market value of his house. Do this with everything. In this way, the devil said, you will corrupt his every moment and rob him of the joy of living innocently and guilelessly, enjoying God’s wonderful present.
Can you see that if we can relate to each moment with innocence—in other words, not trying to use it for some ego building purpose, not expecting some reward, not trying to make something happen—we could enjoy the life that God gives us? We could wait upon life and providence for the good that will come out of nowhere when we don’t try to make it happen.
Children, before they are corrupted, relate to the moment innocently. Each moment is a new surprise in which to see something, do something, and discover something. They have no baggage from the past to color, distort or ruin the new moment.
For example, prior to being pressured, most children are naturally talented in many areas. They naturally and spontaneously do things and without fear. An uncorrupted child is not afraid of animals or anything proper.
But soon, pressure is applied. Teasing, for example, makes the child self conscious. Emotionalized threats can make a child afraid of some activity. Another example: a child wants to go ice skating with friends. The mom screams and rants and raves about how the child is lazy and didn’t clean his room. Soon the child becomes upset and even resentful. Now skating is colored with negativity.
Another parent scared the child with dire predictions about how the child might get hurt, and included many threats about punishment if the child caused her to have any medical bills. Now the child goes to skate but is afraid of getting hurt because it would prove his mother, who he resents, right. This fear interferes with spontaneity and might even cause a nervous child to err. And so, something might happen and then the child goes home to be accused and berated.
However, spontaneous activity and natural skill can be destroyed in a more subtle way. Remember, when we relate to a moment innocently--simply seeing what is there without upset or judgment, and doing the natural thing without ulterior motive—not only do we flow gracefully, but we also form no memory. The next time a similar situation occurs, we again relate to the new moment without baggage from the past.
As soon as we try to make something happen, our will enters, and then frustration. Even if we get our way, we feel guilty before conscience because we sought our own will. When another person pressures us and we resent them, then we will acquire a guilt for having responded with resentment. The next time a similar moment arises, we will have baggage from the past to deal with. We will then suppress the guilt, try to make up for it, or find ourselves fearing because of the anxiety and guilt it brings.
Many people fear all manner of natural things, such as thunderstorms, dogs, and bugs, because they experienced upset or resentment in some distant past moment. Now they identify the source of their anxiety as being caused by something other than the real cause. The real cause of the anxiety is the guilt they have for having resented.
Guilt causes fear, and fear causes guilt. Guilt itself is fear producing. If we resented our mom because she made a huge scene over something, then decades later a similar situation can bring anxiety because of our unresolved hatred of mother. Even fear itself, often caused by guilt (and if the guilt is of unknown origin, it becomes anxiety), is guilt producing, because, technically speaking, a person of faith does not experience fear.
The over-protected child senses that he or she is of too much value to the parent. He resents this subtle pressure and resents not being able to lead a natural unpressured life. Such a child might actually look for trouble in order to break the spell and be out from under mother’s smothering overshadowing. Of course, this can lead to really getting hurt, which brings “I told you so” from mother as well as a huge emotional scene, which the child also resents. Now the child is trapped—living a sheltered life so as not to upset mother which will make the child resentful (and guilty) or going off to freedom, danger and “I told you so.”
Even rebelling and escaping also brings guilt, because the child is pursuing danger for an egotistical purpose, and not relating to life spontaneously and innocently.
Many of us are afraid of public speaking or any kind of performing in public. This stems from some sort of emotional experience involving people, that activity, or being observed by others. Any kind of upset—often due to pressure, impatience, or expected punishment—will taint the activity and leave a memory. Often resentment is added, which makes it even worse, because resentment involves the consciousness in addition to the body. Basically the body learns to be upset, and this in response to some authority’s impatience, anger, worry, or words. Thereafter, the same situation will bring upset. The person then has a hard time relating to the moment innocently and spontaneously. Without even having wanted to, the person now tries to hide the upset, suppress the feelings, avoid the task, or use the moment to try to prove something.
Whether a person fears and avoids public speaking or whether that person uses public speaking to prove something to himself or others—either way, he is not relating to the moment innocently.
Can you see how when others tease us or are cruelly critical—and we resent them for it, we develop a guilt and perhaps a fear of public censure? Fearing and resenting being upset by other’s disapproval, we might spend the rest of our life bending over backwards to keep from getting upset.
Recovery and Meditation
You can never recover until you face each moment and deal with it properly.
Without proper meditation, it is very difficult to meet the moment perfectly because so many past emotions, notions, hang ups, and guilts arise to cloud our perception. Without a willingness to let go of pride, we always try to save face, and the secret motive of saving face precludes relating to the moment innocently.
Recovery involves practicing the proper meditation exercise so as to be able to stand back and relate to the moment with objectivity. Before meditating, we were too involved in things, so much so that we were unable to separate from our emotional involvement and all the ideas, suggestions, programming that went along with the emotions.
Without objectivity, it is impossible to recover because the past baggage continues to color each new moment, leading to more mistakes, more fear, more upset and so on.
Only through meditation can you get above the emotions and notions, to see the meaning of the moment without over-reacting to what you see and without resenting what you see.
Once you can stand back and observe from the neutral zone, you will be able to observe your emotions and accompanying thoughts arising, and you will be able to stand back and watch them quietly (without being resentful, without reacting to what you see, and without trying to deal with them in any way). This is very important.
Suddenly, the meditation permits you to be neutral, relating to whatever you see in the moment innocently. You will literally be able to observe your upset without becoming upset by it. You will see your weakness, your feeling of wanting to run, your inadequacy, as well as all the negative and sordid thoughts. A marvelous thing happens: your soul, being above and separated from what your body is experiencing remains innocent. Calmly discerning in the Light is innocent because the soul is not a part of what it observes. The meditative soul knows that its role is that of observer. Standing back in the Light, it calmly discerns.
Several good things happen as a result of the soul’s observing in the Light. First, there is no new reaction. Past feelings and associated ideas may rise, but this time without resenting what is observed. This way, the new moment remains innocent. Nothing new in the way of emotion is added; no new layer of reaction is added. But one thing is added: the Presence of the Light. The Light, being the proper Authority, has a modifying effect on the mind, body and the situation.
Secondly, the person who walks in the Light can now clearly discern the meaning of the moment, without having it distorted by emotion from the past or past prejudices.
Thirdly, what to say or do if anything is required) will be wordlessly revealed to the person by the Light.
Instead of being the victim of circumstance and guilty for reacting and resenting, the soul now is above the situation. Granted, the body may still shake or experience past emotions rising, but these will be bearable. The separate soul is not stained by sin. It is the observer.
This mental stance of being the observer is so important that it is key to our recovery.
We tend to struggle with our own feelings when we should be observing them. We tend to willfully try to change others or bribe or manipulate them into doing our will, when we should be observing them. We tend to meddle in others affairs, even if it is just by judging them and talking about them behind their back, when we should be calmly observing them.
A final note. We all tend to resent our present circumstance. We tend to resent situations that reveal our weakness or make obvious our past reaction. We tend to resent people because their error, their weakness, their lack of understanding, or their opposition to us makes us upset and reveals our inadequacy. We resent circumstance because it reveals our lack of power or skill to deal with it.
Now you know the secret to life lies in going out into the world and encountering people and situations like the ones that used to upset you and which you resented because they made you see your failing. This time, don’t resent them. See your weakness and inadequacy, and don’t resent it. This time things will be different because if you begin meditating properly, you now observe people and circumstance in the Light which will help you. Instead be glad, because now you have a chance to do what you failed to do in the past. James said it this way: “count it a blessing when you fall into diverse temptations. Because the testing of your faith produces patience. Let patience do its full work, so that you may be perfect, lacking nothing.”