by William Shannon
I THINK WE ALL have the tendency to live with one foot in the present and the other in the past or future. When this happens, we miss the richness of the present, because we are not really fully aware of it. We aren't fully aware because we are not fully in the present. So often we do something in order to be able to do something else: our thoughts are so concentrated on that something else that we don't really experience what we are doing.
We are continually jockeying back and forth between past and future so that we often are not really there to the present. We are not truly aware of what is now. We don't enjoy what we are doing now, because our thoughts are on what we are going to be doing next. And because our thoughts are diverted away from the present, we are never fully aware of what we're doing here and now.
Absence from the present moment makes it difficult for us to be truly aware. For the past is the reality that was, but is no more; the future is the reality that will be but is not yet. It is the present that is real. If we are out of touch with the present, we are really out of touch with the truly real. This makes it almost impossible for us to shift our attention when we go to pray and have that simple awareness that will enable us to be in touch with God.
All this is to say that attentiveness to the present moment can be a great help toward deepening our awareness of the Presence of God. For such attentiveness to the present moment gathers our being into one. This makes it possible for us more easily to experience our oneness with God.
Taken from Silence on Fire by William Shannon (New York: Crossroad Publishing Co., 1991).