Beltane Mountain Moon
Time last night. Qabbalah. Does the past exist? Oh? How do you know? Key learning, something I have to learn and relearn, the past exists, yes, but only in the present. Just like, oddly, the future. Why? We never have any time other than the present. Never. We can pull ourselves away from awareness of the present by being focused on the past regrets, anger, guilt, yet we can only experience the past in the present. So, whether it has any ontological reality or not, we cannot know it except as a ghost that we carry forward with us.
Likewise, the future never arrives. Free beer tomorrow. Our dreams or fears or hopes or anguish about a future event can affect us, but, again, only in the present. Now is all there is, and, again oddly, the moment we think of the now, it is past.
Moment to moment the Reconstructionist prayer book says, the process of creation is renewed. Creation continues. Revelation continues. Tradition changes. This seems right to me and offers us substantial hope. We are not bound by past. This moment is new and we can choose in it to experience the past differently, to change the narrative, to reframe. In the same way we can choose-this is very existential-to reframe our future hopes and fears.
In the present, which has never existed before and will recede as if it were never there, all things can be made new. This is a subtle idea, at once obvious and at the same time almost impossible to grasp. Yet it is true that the 71 years of my life have passed in moments, always in the now. Even in 1947 my life passed moment to moment in increments, the very same as the increments I experience today in 2018.
Reb Zalman, founder of the Jewish Renewal movement, and a resident of Boulder until his death, talks about sin as a remnant of the past that is no longer useful, a story whose narrative obscures our ability to be in the present and, therefore, to make choices in the present. I really like this idea since it removes sin from morality and certainly removes it from any stain on the essence of a person. When we discussed this last night, I offered a metaphor from gardening, “A weed is a plant out of place.”