By Jim O’Neill
You know…you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.
Hillary Clinton 9/9/16
“What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.”
Saint Augustine/Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) “The Confessions,” Book 11, Chapter 14
I was deplorable long before it was cool – ask anyone in my family and they will enthusiastically support my claim to early deplorableness. “Oh yeah, he was deplorable even as a kid!”
Mind you I use the term “deplorable” in the sense adopted by “Les Deplorables” – the millions of Trump supporters. And what sense is that? The sense that a “deplorable” person is someone who sees through bulls—t with a sort of X-ray vision.
When we deplorables are called racists by racists we are unperturbed, and when we are called xenophobic because we take pride in where we reside we respond with a shrug. We value content of character over color or gender, and when we are mercilessly slammed and slandered because we value unity and inclusion over division and identity politics we are unmoved. As I say, deplorables see through bulls—t.
Like many of my fellow deplorables I find myself eagerly awaiting the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States. So much so that I find myself wishing that “Inauguration Day” was today! But such trampling over today in a mad rush to get to the future just won’t do, and this article will discuss the importance of today.
As the old adage has it: each day is a gift, which is why it is called “the present.” The fact that none of us are guaranteed to be here tomorrow is not exactly new news.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Book of James 4:13,14,15 (NIV)
In truth, we are not even guaranteed today; we only have each moment, we only have now. I first became intrigued with the eternal now after reading the excerpt below in the 1960s.
In discussing it one evening, someone said to me, “But why try to live in the present? Surely, we are always completely in the present even when we’re thinking about the past or the future? This, actually quite obvious, remark…brought on the sudden sensation of having no weight. At the same time, the present seemed to become a kind of moving stillness, an eternal stream from which neither I nor anything could deviate. I saw that everything, just as it is now, is IT — is the whole point of there being life and a universe.
…Each thing, each event, each experience in its own inescapable nowness…was precisely what it should be, and so much so that it acquired a divine authority and originality. It struck me with the fullest clarity that none of this depended on my seeing it to be so; that was the way things were, whether I understood it or not…. Furthermore, I felt that I now understood what Christianity might mean by the love of God — namely, that despite the [apparent] imperfection of things, they were nonetheless loved by God just as they are, and that this loving of them was at the same time the godding of them. This…sensation of lightness and clarity lasted a full week.
Alan Watts (1915-1972) “This Is It” 1958
Surfing the Now – the eternal moment between a nonexistent yet absorbing past and future – is an exhilarating sensation, to put it mildly. But as anyone who has tried to grab the Now can attest, it is an exercise in futility – it can be experienced but not grasped.
I have found the following metaphor helpful in understanding the concept of Now intellectually (not to be confused with experiencing the Now): I liken it to images from a film projector being shown on a motion picture screen. Time is represented by the ever-changing movie images, while Now is represented by the still and silent picture-screen. To get an idea of the Now, identify with the movie-screen instead of the movie. It helps to keep in mind that, unlike the inert blandness of a movie-screen, the Now is divinely imbued with infinite, eternal, ineffable power. (For anyone interested in this topic I highly recommend Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now”).
As I say, the Now is an exceedingly slippery thing. The experience of it comes and goes with me – mostly goes. On a typical day I all too often find myself reliving the past or fantasizing about the future. It takes an effort just to keep my feet firmly planted in today, in the here and now.
Patience – patience is key. As Dr. Wayne Dyer says: “Infinite patience brings immediate results.” “Results” in the sense of grounding us in the here and now, which is where our work is.
I find it especially hard to be patient these days, when I look forward with such hope and anticipation to the end of the Obama Administration’s reign of trickle-down corruption, racism, lies, and narcissism, and the start of the Trump Administration (the “Time of the Deplorables”) and its concomitant trickle-down optimism, hope, decency, and opportunity. Merged with strength, vigor, vision, and belief these virtues will help to elevate humanity’s consciousness, and America’s in particular, in a way unimaginable just a short time ago.
God does indeed work in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.