Saturday, October 18, 2014

Perception and Faith - the Moment and Now

For a number of years, I endeavored to see one moment in time, or an object in that moment, for itself. To slow down the world so as to be able to see one thing, and see it for itself. I wanted to see choice, too, or thought, to be able to perceive the exact movement of decision. This desire began, years ago, with wanting to remember a random flower or plant at the roadside as I drove by. "I want to remember that plant," I thought to myself. For no philosophical or moral reason I knew of, I desired to accomplish this, and I thought it an honorable goal.

It took me years, but I experienced this form of perception, so that I can now call it up when I want. I can, in a sense, fall asleep to everything but what is before me, either physically or in my mind. I credit my religion with pushing me through in accomplishing this goal. I did not know it would do this, but now, looking back (and in the present), I can imagine no other way to, for a prime example, be awake to the blessing of the bread and wine, to their transmutation to the body and blood of the Lord, which I feel, bow to stern, through and through, and know as a child knows their ABC's.

Any Catholic (or Buddhist, for that matter...) should know this is not bragging, etc. What I desired years ago was nothing more than wishing to be present in the moment. It is a desire, a fine one at that, which any spiritually-conscious human being can relate to. The Lord chose that I should know this moment in His way, is all.

And, now, I have come to wish to see myself in the same way. To be able to perceive myself as a person, objectively, a figure on the street, as others perceive me. I have been able to do so, on a couple occasions, and let me tell you, it is a disconcerting experience. To see yourself as a person apart from yourself is to perceive - to feel, to know - that you are as vulnerable as anyone. Right now, the man seated in front of me might have a heart attack, or a safe could fall on him. I would be shocked, but I would live. See yourself as a person apart, and that perception is made very real, at a personal cost.

What does God want from me?

Well, I think God wants me to be who I am, as long as I am capable of, and willing to, seeing myself as just another man. I consent to this. It is not easy to do, to say, I am not special, but at the same time to know that I must be who I am and believe in myself! Think of the Lord, whom the Father commanded to be mere flesh and blood, for his glory.

This is the pattern, the form, the truth of being Christian. It is not merely a matter of understanding the parables of the Gospel or going to church or voting for this or that. It is a matter of transforming one's perception of the world, moment by moment, and of oneself, in the here and now.