Throughout our spiritual literature, the now moment has been touted as the only time we have, and eternally so. We have been trained to think of eternity as an indefinite span of time stretching into the past and future. When we’re told that now is eternity and we can truly only live in the now, we like the sound of it but it is a challenge to make practical sense of this idea. We nearly all wear watches and keep some type of calendar. We constantly anticipate the future and mull over the past. Though we cannot enter the future or revisit the past from where we are right now, we can certainly think about them. And our thinking about them usually crowds out our ability to fully appreciate our present moment. Most of us are actually doing our best to flee the now moment. Someplace up ahead is where we need to be.
If you think of a wheel turning on an axle, the wheel of a lawn cart for example, you know the wheel can roll all over your yard while the axle remains still. If you think of your soul as the axle and your senses-based self-image and its outer life as the wheel you can get a sense of how two realities can be bundled into a single experience. Regardless of how fast or how long the wheel turns, the axle rests motionless. From the point of view of the axle/soul, there is only a single position. Time and space have no relevance. From the point of view of the wheel/self-image, meaning is found in time and space. There are things to do and places to go. If the wheel adopted the attitude of the axle, it would sit motionless and be of little value as a lawn cart. Having a body that expresses and interacts with this lawn of time and space, we obviously did not come here to do nothing.
Our challenge is that the bulk of our identity is attached to the wheel. The axle remains a vague concept. Without the axle, of course, the wheel and cart assembly breaks down. The problem is that the wheel can turn just fine completely unaware of the axle. We can live an interesting life under the jurisdiction of time and space, running lo here and lo there seeking the prize of absolute inner peace by arranging every aspect of our lawn just so. The time comes, however, when we realize that regardless of where in our lawn we roll, we feel the same absence of inner peace. We make more money but then it’s not quite enough money. We buy a bigger home only to discover a sociopathic neighbor who is deaf to their basset hound’s incessant foghorn of a bark. We find the soulmate of our dreams and discover that not even they can lift us above our gnawing sense of incompleteness.
Our soul, like the axle, exists in a perpetual state of rest right in the midst of the spinning wheel of our external life. Even while our attention is fully engrossed in all the many things we want and need to do, the places we need to be and the places we have been, the peace-filled integrity of our soul remains intact, unmoved. We long for the peace of our soul, which is why we scramble through time and space in a vain pursuit of trying to connect with it.
We resolve the mystery of the now moment, not by denying time and space as practical elements that do in fact have a place in our earthly incarnation. We resolve it by realizing that the peace we seek in people, places and things already exists at the core of our being. The wheel cannot roll over to some spiritual school or bookstore, read about axles and expect to find some idea that will allow it to discontinue its frantic search for the state of peace the axle already enjoys. As long as we think of ourselves primarily as a wheel, a senses-based self-image, we will forever spin in an eternity of restlessness. Who needs an actual Hell when we are perfectly capable of sentencing ourselves to such an unresolvable condition? As we move our attention to our core — our axle, our soul — we discover the peace that passes all understanding, the peace of motionlessness exists right in the midst of the spinning wheel. Wheel logic would dictate that the last place you would look to find motionlessness is at the center of the spinning wheel. Axle logic, on the other hand, sits smiling in eternal repose even as the wheel turns.
In the previous post, Understanding the Spiritual Journey, I wrote about the nature of our spiritual path. This path does not involve time and space. It involves an understanding of the wheel/axle relationship. That the wheel spins at all indicates it has a center around which it spins. Our focus has been on the lawn and all the places we must go to find inner peace. Now we are to shift our focus to the axle, the soul, with the understanding that the mechanism is already in place, properly functioning and completely adequate. The soul exists only in the eternal now. It’s vehicle of material expression, the body, exists in the realm of clocks, calendars and GPS’s. We are not to deny this external aspect of our being. To find the peace we are looking for, however, we are to turn within to that non-spinning core that is our soul dwelling in an environment of eternal peace and seek to live our lives from this perspective.
The axle that is our soul does not revolve in an evolutionary progression. It has no need to progress into anything more than it is already. The wheel will turn and the cart will move along its linear timeline, all while the axle remains still. When we understand this, we solve the mystery of the now moment and bring it into a more practical focus.