A projected outcome keeps a dreamlike haze around the scope of our vision, shading reality in its fullness and vibrancy. Surprises then wear the facade of obstacles and rugged scenery is nuisance to the trek, hindering return to the well-beaten path. We choose our response, the ripples lapping against our being that portray a movement towards a reality we’ve created within our own minds. A constrictive, false reality that limits, ignores, and dispenses possibility. The disturbances in the water only merit our acknowledgement when they align and cooperate with our desires and hopeful anticipations. Expectations set a sterile standard, limiting potential and a probability for more. They shoulder others with an undisclosed, internal accountability and results to perform. In the relational sphere, loved ones are limited to what emotions can be extracted and replicated out of them, personified ideals of an individual is the manifestation seen out beyond the lens.
Speckled on our days, splintering foresight’s dominance, is the subtle responsibility to move against will and breathe in what is. The now invites us into full participation. Efficacy demands loyalty in time spent, relational investment, performance in vocational and self-study practices, and through labels coloring into condition. Detachment from expectations, wants, desires, goals, and results brings liberation and the present, “for the present is the presence of God. Things have a past and a future, but only God is pure presence” (Abraham Heschel). Peace is the gift set before us when our awareness abides in an intimate permanence and maturity. Sentient in nature, admiration has capacious ability to thrive within us, which must accompany the pulse of our movement through life; anything other is self-denial and austere. Our hearts were made for worship and observance in the present. Expectations remove us from dwelling in the richness of His presence. In the breath by breath with the divine, the primordial existence comes to life and the provisional faithfulness moves me to a cosmic humility.
In Bedouin culture, shepherds lead their flocks through through the Judean mountainsides for sustenance and life. These mountains are desolate and barren. Tufts of grass, 3 to 4” in length, grow from outcrops of rock, which are heat-stricken and dead by noon. The only hillsides that may contain this scarcity of life and provision for the sheep, their family’s livelihood, are mountainsides touched by the “Ruach” or wind from the Mediterranean Sea the night before, carrying moisture. The shepherds could potentially lead their flocks to a slope without anything for the sheep, of whom their existence completely depends.
What a different picture from our aggrandized, western view of Psalm 23:1-2: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” The “spirit” or “Ruach” is a moment by moment need for life, to live. We need to be lead by the shepherd for every breath, “the green pastures are every moment of the day.” (VanderLaan). He’s a God of the present. Lean into whom you draw everything, because all that exists is the now.
“We always become what we behold; the presence that we practice matters. For those who have learned to see, everything is holy.” – Richard Rohr