This Moment, by Carol Wachter
If only for this moment, I will be loved.
Not for what I say or do...but for who I am.
(And not for whom I strive to be but who I was created as.)
Not just the nicely wrapped parts, either. And the parts of me I understand.
But my jagged edges, too, and my bewildered musing about why I do what I do.
If only for this moment, I will be.
Space-filled. Spacious. Aware. Free.
If only for this moment, I will let myself trust and let myself hope.
Not so much because I want to feel happy and optimistic
(or be perceived as being happy and optimistic!)
But because I want to know, in this moment, that I am
Intentionally fashioned and intricately connected.
If only for this moment, I will let wholeness find me.
In my head. In my body. In my heart
In my entire being.
Even in my ‘self’.
Carol Wachter, a member of a Soul Friends group, a group practicing Centering Prayer wrote this poem after the group spent time reflecting on the concept of the true self and the false self. What is the true self ? Thomas Keating defines it as the image of God in which every one of us is created. When we live out our life in God with intentionality, we think and act from our true self. So what is the false self? We all have a false self. Its creation starts when we are children and things don’t go our way or we are hurt and bruised living in relationships with other imperfect humans. From these disappointments we develop all sorts of defenses which are in automatic drive. Most of the time we are not even aware of them. This false self is amplified by a culture that supports competition, material success, over consumption, divisiveness and fear. It is amazing how well most of us adjust to this life style and go along with it not realizing how little joy it brings us.
For most people who daily practice Centering Prayer and other contemplative prayer forms, life changes. This often happens in ways of which they are not even aware. They grow more confident in God’s love and discover new personal freedoms. No longer do they judge themselves and others from the culture’s viewpoint. The world’s forms of failures loose importance and their own definition changes. Slowly the self-critical spirit erodes. These people of intention become more open to all kinds of people they might not have accepted when responding from the false self. Their God given gifts and uniqueness begin to be discovered. The contemplative qualities of peace, love, joy and others begin dwelling within them.
When someone first starts a daily practice he/she may have doubts and questions about its value. They may be troubled by too many thoughts or the need to be doing something else. Questions arise such as, “Why isn’t something happening?” "Is God really there?" Even though we don’t know it, through this process we are learning to "let go and let God” into daily life. Sadly though, they may convince themselves to give up their practice. It is so hard for us humans to do what is the best for ourselves."
In order to avoid discouragement and doubt that ends a God centered regular practice, it is important to be part of a group where others are sojourning or have traveled the path long enough to know the fruits of the journey. These fellow travelers can offer assistance, reassurance and hope as well as a new kind of friendship. Carol’s poem arose from the experience of sharing with others a deep exploration of a relationship with God. Perhaps, God sets things up this way so that we come together in His name to find out who He is and who we are in our lives together.
Carolyn Young is a trained presenter of Centering Prayer and a member of the Minnesota Contemplative Outreach planning group.