I want to talk about living in Deep Time. This is a term Richard Rohr uses a few times in his book Falling Upward. The idea of Deep Time is experiencing “the past, present, and future all at once.” It is the opposite of living in small time. As human beings living in the time we do, I would estimate that most of us look maybe 4-8 years into the future (possibly to do with election cycles?) and those of us that look back, look to a past that may or may not have existed 20-30 years ago.
But living in Deep Time encourages us to look out, at the very least, to the next generation and ideally much further than that. It also moves us to live in the exact present moment but to also live the past and future at the same time. It’s a paradox, yes, but learning (or unlearning) to be comfortable, even revel in, paradox is a crucial step toward finding our True Self (Rohr), Self 2 (Gallwey, more on this later), or enlightenment. I’m thinking about the time when I’m with my children and even when I’m very frustrated with them. I try to pause and consider this moment in the perspective of Deep Time. It’s difficult. I want to be present with them, but I also want to experience this time in the context of everything that has come before and everything that will come after. Sometimes taking a deep breath and taking a mental picture is all we can do before moving on to the next order of business in the nightly bedtime routine. Deep Time brings me peace in the face of possible health setbacks and challenges. “All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again.” (Bonus points to anyone that can source that quote without google.)
One of my favorite loving-kindness meditations is:
May you be loved, May you be safe, May you be healthy, May you have peace.
I direct this meditation to Paige, Mina, and Will. I picture them in Deep Time. Part of it is a future I can only imagine, and part of it is a past that includes time before they were even born. This really helps my meditations feel like they are truly connecting to something.
“In deep time, everybody matters and has his or her influence, and is even somehow ‘present’ and not just past.”
Hello. Welcome to my blog, Enlightenment at Gunpoint. I should note that the name, Enlightenment at Gunpoint, comes from a chapter title found in a book by Richard Rohr (The Immortal Diamond), which is a fantastic read.
This name stuck out to me during my recent journey. It was the perfect encapsulation of not just what I am going through during my journey, but also what I would want for other people (well, I don’t want you to have to do anything at gunpoint, but the sense of urgency it conveys is critical). This blog will be about living in the moment. “Now”-ness, “oneness”, “mindfulness” “being present” will all be phrases that will be used over and over again. My experience has taught me how crucial this is, and I want everyone to be able to experience the joy of living a present, intentional life.
This blog is not my about journey through illness. For the narrative of my journey, from my brain tumor to my cancer diagnosis, please click on the “My Journey” tab. I am in humbled at your interest in my story and I am eager to share it, especially if it helps other people. I promise to keep this tab updated with results from my tests and various treatments. However, for my own well-being I would like this blog to focus more in my interests at the moment. Hopefully those will resonate with others and help people as well- sick or healthy.
To invoke a cliche, if this helps just one other person, then it’s worth it. My neurosurgeon invoked the same cliche to me in a follow-up appointment after my successful brain surgery and removal of the tumor.
So far, I am a survivor. Survival is good but to quote Richard Rohr:
“Merely to survive and preserve our life is a low-level instinct that we share with good little lizards, but it is not heroism in any classic sense. We were meant to thrive and not just survive. We are glad when someone survives, and that surely took some courage and effort. But what are you going to do with your now resurrected life? That is the heroic question.”