We Americans, with our penchant for reducing things to their smallest component part, tend to do ourselves no favors when it comes to developing or adopting a rich and healthy spirituality. No less an authority than His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said recently that, in terms of Buddhist philosophy, not only do the past and the future not exist, neither does the present moment. This of course is a philosophical statement meant to show that everything is interconnected, that nothing exists on its own completely independent of any other thing. However it does shed an interesting light on our fascination with the present moment, and the popularity of such books as Eckart Tolle’s The Power of Now. You might say that, in and of itself, there is no such thing as now.
We seem to have a fascination with things we consider to be exotic, and not the least of which are foreign philosophies and spiritualities. However, we come at them in a rather half-assed manner, as if we were at an all-you-can-eat spiritual buffet, and pluck out bits and pieces that suit our tastes without understanding the ingredients and the cooking skills, if you will, needed to prepare the dish. In other words, if we like the way the automobile looks we will buy it without first taking it for a test drive to make sure it runs well. We shouldn’t be too surprised about this, given our penchant for picking apart the Bible in the same way. It seems that the energy necessary to grasp the big picture is a bit more effort than we are willing to invest, and it shows in our results. Undaunted, we proceed full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes, and then are rather amazed when we find ourselves scrambling about looking for the lifeboats.