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What is it about the moment?

  1. Mar 18, 2003 #1
    What is it about "the moment?"

    "I close my eyes, only for a moment and the moment's gone" ... from the song, Dust in the Wind, by Kansas.

    So what is it about the moment? Except that it stands outside of time and space? ... Or, does time and space stand within it? Ahh, could this be the origin of both eternity and infinity?

    Ahh, could this be the very connection to an Eternal Creator Who, stands outside of time an space? ... i.e., through the moment? So what is it about the moment that speaks to us about such things ... "our experience."

    Therefore it must be like they say, how can you experience God or, for that matter anything else, if you can't experience "It" for yourself?

    "Be still, and know [experience] that I am God ..." (Psalms 46:10)

    Posted from the thread, Whaddya know?

    Posted from the thread, The Paradox of Existence ...

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2003 #2


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    Most believers of "moment" quote a french poshmodernist guy, Derrida.
  4. Mar 19, 2003 #3
    To get the ball rolling ...

    Transferred from the post, Whaddya know?

    These are two separate statements from two separate posts and, although the first is somewhat confrontational (I think when we start asking how do we really know? it should also include that which no one want to talk about, God), it doesn't mean that my reply to "your reply" (which didn't even include the first post) was confrontational. In fact if anything, it could be construed as a compliment ... I guess in my own mind I was saying the whole idea of "epistemology" which, I had never heard of before (although it closely resembles my own views), seems very "pragmatic" in its approach and, that in fact you seemed pragmatic yourself ...

    If the present moment is Eternal, then there is no past or future (except when preoccupied in our thoughts), in which case we both agree.

    If just for "one moment" we took a snapshot of Creation, "everything" would exist in the here and now, including time and space, which are infinite. Therefore the moment itself must encompass (i.e., stand outside of) everything. Just picture in your mind for "one moment," the universe as a bubble, and you'll see what I mean.

    What's that you say? The whole universe is "conceived" in a moment? Huh? Does this explain the big-bang theory? Yes, but who was banging who? (pardon me) ... What? Does that mean God had a Mistress? (pardon me again) ...

    No, the experiment here is what you apply (conduct) through your own experience. Otherwise if you don't go through the experience (conduct it for yourself), how else would you know?

    That would be fine if "God" was just another word in the dictionary, but it's not, besides you're not the one who brought up the topic. And the keyword here is "think" ... By the way, what does the word "epistle" mean? Doesn't it come from the Bible?

    Well how do you know that I don't know? Hey I don't know you either, so why should I waste my time? Except at first, as I say, you seemed to be "pragmatic in your approach."

    I can accept the validity of such a claim but, based upon my own experience of course. I don't even know who this is, and yet I can still "recognize" from experience.

    So maybe we would really rather talk about God afterall? ...

    I don't know you either, but what it sounds like you're saying is that because your beloved Brother Lawrence got there first, that I shouldn't bother to try? ... This is your opinion.

    So why do we bother to try communicating in the first place? If it were all "self-evident," then what's the point?
  5. Mar 19, 2003 #4
    i think the moment is essential to any experience of 'something else' :

    "Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour"
    -W. Blake

    it's a strange paradox that eternity can only really be understood through the moment, i can see two possible reasons:
    -through being completely opposite they are intrinsicaly linked
    -as the instant can be so complete it may as well be infinite, ie unity of sensation, emotion, time...

    why are unity and infinity essentially the same thing?

    in french literature last year we dedicated a massive amount of time to poetry of the instant, we studied the importance of unity, especially of sensation, perhaps because feelings are more imediate then thoughts?

    Omar khayyan said "be happy for a moment, that moment is your life" (the translation from french is shoddy, pardon)
    one beautifully complete and independant moment is all you need.
  6. Mar 19, 2003 #5
    Oh yeah, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life ..."
  7. Mar 19, 2003 #6
    Asians like to say existence has "suchness" or "isness" and that this statement can only be understood in the moment. In the moment synergy and change both exist and do not exist. It is the principle of yin yang.

    Synergy is the natural observation and principle that any two or more things together possess unique properties they do not have separately. Yin and Yang is likewise a principle and natural observation, albeit a historically Asian one that acknowledges the paradox of existence.

    The complementary opposites of Yin and Yang extend beyond synergy unifying its disparate elements in singularity. In harmony, dissonance, and static equilibrium synergy and singularity comprise rudimentary complementary opposites of Yin and Yang. The mirror and shadow-like properties of paradox can therefore be derived from such singular synergy and the often surprising and unpredictable results of synergy itself can be conceived of as indicative of the paradox of existence.

    Or, as Lao Tzu said,


    Looked at but cannot be seen
    It is beneath form;
    Listened to but cannot be heard
    - It is beneath sound;
    Held but cannot be touched
    It is beneath feeling;
    These depthless things evade definition,
    And blend into a single mystery.
    In its rising there is no light,
    In its falling there is no darkness,
    A continuous thread
    Beyond description,
    Lining what cannot occur;
    Its form formless,
    Its image nothing,
    Its name silence;
    Follow it, it has no back,
    Meet it, it has no face.
    Attend the present to deal with the past;
    Thus you grasp the continuity
    Of the Way,
    Which is its essence.
  8. Mar 19, 2003 #7
    An afterlife?

    Typically they (Asians) don't allow for an afterlife do they? Could this be the missing ingredient which would make existence seem less paradoxical?

    Yes but the mystery can be touched -- and hence defined -- through "our soul."
  9. Mar 19, 2003 #8
    I'm sorry, but this is simply not true. Most Asians have historically believed in an afterlife of some sort. I don't know of any modern census done on the subject, but this has historically been the case. Religious Buddhists not only believe in reincarnation, but that once the cycle of reincarnation is broken they go to heaven or become one with the Buddha or God. The same is true for religious Taoists and whatnot.

    Exactly. Through our soul or spirit or experience.


    The spirit of the Way never dies,
    It is called the mysterious female:
    Its entrance, the root of the world,
    The Way of Happiness moves within it:
    Draw upon its experience; it will not run dry.
  10. Mar 19, 2003 #9
    I think the idea of reincarnation is much further removed though, because it's so far off in the distance that you might as well not concern yourself with it. How many times do you have to come back as a bug, or a fish (or whatever) before you truly transcend?

    And yet it may not be a bad thing in and of itself, because it puts you in the position where you just have to get on with it (your life), rather than spend so much time preoccupied with whether or not you're going to go to heaven ... which, unfortunately is the fallacy of so many Christians.
  11. Mar 19, 2003 #10

    Les Sleeth

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    Re: To get the ball rolling ...

    Sorry Iacchus, I reread my post of yesterday to you today and I definitely sounded testy! I do have some problems with a couple of your points, so let me see if I can make sense cordially.

    I can agree that each moment contains the whole of existence. But then you say time and space are infinite, and to that I cannot agree if we are to use the standard definitions of time and space. I see time as related to the duration of the physical universe, and since that had a beginning and an end (apparently) then time will end with the physical universe does. There are people I've debated with at PF who don't link time to physical existence, so I suppose they might be able to agree with you.

    But I think "eternity" is nonetheless possible if you take the temporal element out of it (i.e., the physical universe) and also allow that possibly there is some base level of existence which was never created and can never cease to exist. Say it is some sort of eternal substance, maybe a vibrant luminescence, that has always existed. It has no "time" because it had no beginning and will have no end. Maybe all the physical stuff is compressed vibrant luminescence, which makes it vibrate and assume color etc., but since that is a "form" vibrant luminescence has taken, it means the form will eventually return to its base state. So it is that which has "form" which possesses time, finiteness, and limits; it would be the form-less which is infinite and eternal.

    The Buddha, who is believed to have merged with this level of existence, described it in the following passage: “There is, monks, that plane where there is neither extension nor motion. . . there is no coming or going or remaining or deceasing or uprising. . . . There is, monks, an unborn, not become, not made, uncompounded . . . [and] because [that exists] . . . an escape can be shown for what is born, has become, is made, is compounded.”

    When I said I trusted Brother Lawrence, it was because he is one of many I've studied who, like the Buddha, attempted "union" with something immaterial. I quoted him because he is known for practicing union in a "moment" sort of way, which you seemed to be talking about.

    The issue is for me goes beyond recognizing the richness of "now," and extends to how able my consciousness is to directly experience that richness. Personally I don't think it is so easy as "recognizing" the now. I have concluded from both my personal experience and studying others that it seems a skill attained through lifelong dedication and inner practice.

    One might wonder if some area of that infinite and eternal vibrant luminescence has become conscious, and if so how conscious it is. How conscious would anyone of us become if we had eternity in which to evolve? Say you have been evolving for a zillion to the zillionth power years, what might you become capable of achieving through consciousness?

    But the problem is, to get back to the original subject, how does one "know" it? Even if you experience such an evolved consciousness, it might be such a small part you experience that you'd never really know what you were experiencing other than its base nature of light and vibrancy. Intuitively you might sense it is "love" or other qualities, but people go so far beyond that. They say things like it is omnipotent and omniscient. How do they know that. Maybe, for instance, it is really powerful relative to us, but not all powerful; and maybe it is very knowledgable relative to us, but not all knowing.

    So, I return once again to my statement about what I know. I know what I experience. However, I will amend that a little and add that I will infer from my and others' experience, particularly experience I've had or observed enough to make me "certain" of it.
  12. Mar 19, 2003 #11
    Supposidly it just depends upon the individual and it doesn't really matter anyhow unless you are unenlightened. I might also point out that despite any possible limitations of the idea it also has advantages over Christian and other ideas of an afterlife. It's greatest appeal, perhaps, is that it provides strong support for the idea of an infinitely forgiving God who does not merely go to extremes, but designed existence to suit everyone's needs.
  13. Mar 20, 2003 #12
    Re: Re: To get the ball rolling ...

    While I admit that I do come across as a bit confrontational at times, in part because my approach is different, and I'm not always prepared with what to say. It has to do with how I view science, which I believe is okay, except that it "won't" address the most fundamental question of all, God? And, what is science without a soul? ... I could say more here, but I don't have the words right now.

    Whether time and space is infinite or not is debatable. I'm not a physicist. And yet if you agree that the moment contains the whole of existence, then that would include time and space, which is really all I'm saying.

    It sounds like you don't believe in a spiritual world, i.e., heaven and hell, where actual spirits dwell? Now I have been "in the spirit" (not unlike experiencing a lucid dream) and I can attest that it does exist. And guess where that might be? outside of -- or, possibly within? -- "time and space." And the spirit "lives on" unto Eternity ... Yeah right!

    It helps to have a good mentor, some good reference materials, and at least one or two "crucial experiences," all of which I have had. Well, that's about all I have to say for now.
  14. Mar 20, 2003 #13
    Thunder Thighs

    If everything in the Universe has a cause and effect, meaning everything has a beginning and an end, then the Universe must be paradoxical, because Who was there to trip the "first domino?" Of course I believe in the big-bang theory myself, but that would imply God had a Mistress? ... And the whole idea was conceived in "the moment" ... Hey Zeus!

    Yep, Good Ol' "Thunder Thighs" ...

    By the way, did you know that Nyssa, Oregon was the Thunder Egg Capital of the world and, that Dionysus, the only begotten son of Zeus -- born of Zeus' thigh -- was brought up on Mount Nysa? How strange? ... Whereas Nyssa (with two n's) lies directly on the border between Oregon and Idaho. And guess what? Zeus was brought up on Mt Ida! ... Whoa dude!

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