Friday, September 21, 2012


‘To whom [God] said, This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest;
and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.’ (Isaiah 28:12)
[King James Bible/Cambridge edition]

‘This is the refreshing.’ The renowned pastor, lecturer and author Norman Vincent Peale wrote, ‘These few words remind us of a spring of cool water because of their renewing quality.’

Each new day---indeed, each new moment in the eternal now---is, or at least can be experienced as, a ‘refreshing,’ for that is what it truly is. Each new moment is a renewal. The moment is so brief---as I write these words, many such moments have come and gone----it is virtually timeless. Time is simply a medium in which all things live, move and have their being. So, what we call ‘life’---or reality, truth or God---is nothing other than a timeless renewal in the present moment. Each new moment is a re-creation---or a refreshing.

The only power that can be ours is that which is found in the reality of the present moment that is ever-before us ‘in’ the now. That is the only ‘place’---for want of a better word---in which we can find ‘refreshment.’ Indeed, it is a refreshing. That is the only ‘place’ wherein we can find help in time of trouble, for if we seek that help in the past or in the future we look in vain. Indeed, trouble really only occurs when we allow ourselves to dwell in either the past or the future. True peace and acceptance can only be found in the calm acknowledgment of the omnipresent reality of the present moment. I have said as much on so many occasions. Not only peace and acceptance, but inner transformation as well. In one of his many classes the spiritual philosopher and teacher Vernon Howard, whose ideas about life have had a big impact on my life and thinking, said this:

‘Truth exists at this very present moment. Truth, which is the great power, the only power, therefore exists right now by man-made time, about a quarter after nine, exists for anyone in this room who is no longer living in man-made time, that is in his acquired sense of self, developed from experiences of past and hopes of the future.’

Truth not only exists at this present moment; it is this present moment---at least when we are mindfully aware of what is going on. That's a refreshing thought. Mindfulness, itself, is a refreshing, for it is the choiceless awareness of awareness itself. If we stay fixed and focused, and fully grounded, in the reality of the eternal mow---that is, if our minds are fully and mindfully engaged in what is taking place in and around us now---we will experience a refreshing, no matter what happens.

If you really want to come alive, start to experience each new moment as a refreshing. However, this can only be done from one moment to the next. It cannot be done ‘in’ the moment itself---despite the omnipresent reality of the present moment---simply because the so-called ‘moment’ is so brief, so ephemeral, that no sooner has it arrived, it's gone. It's the past. One cannot experience or live ‘in’ the moment because the moment, although ever-present, is always changing ... into the next moment ... and the next ... and then the next!

This is where mindfulness comes into its own. You see, mindfulness is awareness---in a deliberate and purposeful but ‘soft focus’, gentle and kind sort of way---from one moment to the next. Got that? Mindfulness is concerned with being fully present, and living with awareness, from moment to moment. Mindful living is living receptively with choiceless awareness from moment to moment---that is, being aware step by step, breath by breath, thought by thought, feeling by feeling, memory by memory, sensation by sensation, and so forth. Such is the flow of life, for what is life but the ongoing moment-to-moment livingness of living things and beings living out their livingness from one moment to the next.

Now, that is the refreshing.

1. The photos were taken by the author during a trip to Japan in June 2011. 
2. For those who are interested in the writings and ideas of Dr Peale, I have compiled and edited a book entitled The Norman Vincent Peale Book of Quotations.


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