Eternality and The Field of the Present Moment

I’ve been listening to Eckhart Tolle on cds titled Living a Life of Inner Peace (New World Library). On Disc One he is addressing the sense of “I” that he holds exists deep within each of us.

Where,” he asks, “does this very deep sense of ‘I am,’ come from?”

In reverential tones he speaks of this “I” as “something so precious that we don’t want to loose it. In fact to him it is unimaginable that the world could ever be without this sense of ‘I am,’ of ‘being-ness,’ of ‘presence.’”

Tolle sees the problem as that our sense of ongoing-ness gets mixed up with memories, and with mental images accompanied by our “stories.” If, though, we can distill the deeper sense of being from what we tell others and ourselves about our lives, then, from underneath we are supported by the deeper sense of an unchanging, ongoing eternal being.

On Disc Two Tolle guides the listener into a second, equally deep mystery:

“What other thing, apart from your deepest sense of “I am,” is there that never changes in your life, that has always been there?”

His answer is “the present moment.” Listening carefully I hear him repeatedly refer to “the present moment” and to “the now” interchangeably as a  “field”—the field of the present moment. Obviously he is not talking about time in the ordinary sense of a flowing sequence of events. A “field” ordinarily, or at least it used to be, thought of as occupying space. Is he talking about the concept of space-time as a fourth dimension?

As my mind is about to go off in the direction of reducing the mystery about which he speaks to something I think I know something about, I am cautioned by his very next words that he is moving into an area where words and even language are inadequate. He warns that when entering the territory of the deep mysteries of life the logical rational mind in its service to egoic thinking will attempt to rationalize away the mystery the words are merely pointing to.

In any event, I am grateful for having been pulled back from the brink. And as soon as I am the idea of the present moment being a Field seems as strangely familiar territory, and where over the nearly five years since Bob’s transition I have become increasingly comfortable in accepting this as where my Beloved and I continue our life and our work together.

In this state of awareness of being eternally one, I think of my beloved as my own Higher Mind. And I recall a friend’s signature quote:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field, I’ll meet you there. Rumi

About ann

When Bob and Ann Elliott purchased their sixty acre Murray Creek property in 1974 their purpose was to establish a retreat center for Inner Healing. This was the beginning of Creative Living Center and later the home of CLC Press which gradually evolved into an on-line means of sharing what they were learning and experiencing about the processes of becoming whole. Ann was born in 1929 in Holden, Missouri. Her parents were both journalists and co-published the local newspaper. They had met in Mexico City where her father was on assignment for a Washington DC newspaper and where her mother was doing advanced studies at the University of Mexico. When Ann was six they separated and she moved to Kansas City where her mother began a long career in radio and television. In high school Ann was sent east to Penn Hall in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. And that is where she met Bob who was attending Mercersburg Academy, the nearby boy's prep school. Bob was born in 1927 in Washington, DC. His mother had been a librarian in Hammond, Indiana before coming to Washington during World War I where she met his father, a young Marine who became an attorney when the war was over. Bob attended Sidwell Friends School in Washington through eighth grade and went on to Mercersburg, and from there, near the end of World War II, into the army. The war over, he began pre-law at Northwestern where Ann was studying journalism and doing secretarial work for her mother who was then Woman's Editor of American Broadcasting Co in Chicago. In the fall of 1947 Ann and Bob were married and the following spring left for Stanford University where Bob finished his undergraduate and went on to earn his law degree in 1952, by which time they were expecting the second of what would be their six children. During Bob's years at Stanford Ann studied and worked in the field of design. This led to her interest in symbolism, and the study of symbolism awakened her interest in spirituality, a combination that led to an interest in Jungian psychology at about the time Jung's writings were beginning to appear in English. It was through the writings of Christian Jungians such as John Sanford and Morton Kelsey that Ann became interested in the psycho-spiritual approaches to inner healing. Eventually she would connect with the three grand women founders of the San Francisco based Guild For Psychological Studies, all of whom had studied with Jung in Zurich. Together the three--Elizabeth Boynton Howes, Sheila Moon, and Luella Seibald--had established the Four Springs retreat center in Northern California where they conducted seminars based on "The Records of the Life of Jesus of Nazareth" according to a modified Socratic method. Ann participated in the Records and other related seminars at Four Springs during the 1980s. In the meantime, Bob was equally involved in pursuing his special interest in music as a means of furthering and deepening meditation. He was also studying shamanism with Michael Harner and the Institute for Shamanic Studies, and with Ira Progoff through his Intensive Journal Workshops. All this time, of course, he was carrying on a busy law practice in Lodi, California, some forty miles commute from Murray Creek. From 1984 until his retirement in 1998 Ann served as Bob's legal secretary. Ann, with both of her parents writers, had been writing off and on for a number of years, with numerous writings on symbolism published in magazines and journals, as well as two books on the use of symbolism in Christian education. In 1996-7 Parts I and II of Return to the Whole were published on the C G Jung Web Page, and this was the beginning of web publishing for Ann as a means of sharing the synthesis of ways to inner healing and wholeness she and Bob had experienced and been sharing throughout their years at Murray Creek. With their retirement in 1998 Ann began writing and editing full time, with her in progress "opus" being the series titled Return to the Whole, and including the full length book titled Higher Ground, offered here in its entirety. In 1992 Ann learned she was eligible to "test her vocation" as an Anglican Franciscans and after an inquiry and formation of some five years was, in 1997, professed. These are the TSSF initials that follow her name--The Society of Saint Francis--and for which order she now serves as a formation counselor. Additionally she is a Benedictine trained spiritual director and serves in this capacity also to whomever is willing to make the narrow, winding trip out Murray Creek Road.
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