August 6       

Today's quotation:

What we call eternity may be but an endless series of transitions which people call deaths, abandonments of home, going ever to fairer scenes and loftier heights.

Edmund Bulwer-Lytton

Today's Meditation:

While I like to think that we are eternal beings, I have to say that I really don't know what "eternity" might mean or feel like.  We fear death and annihilation, of course, because we want to think that there's more meaning to our lives than just these few years that we spend here on this planet.  It's easy enough to conceive of eternity as an abstract idea, but in practice?  What is eternity?  And where might our place in it be?  Do we stand around all day playing harps in heaven forever?  Or burn in hell because we didn't follow a rule or two while we were on this planet?

We don't want to think of eternity as being painful because then we wouldn't have a whole lot to look forward to, would we?  We want eternity to be positive, many of us want it to have something to do with God, and we want to be sure that we have a personal place in it.  But one of the most important things we can do about our relationship to eternity is to not dwell on it-- to let go what we believe about eternity and focus on the present moments, for the more we focus on that which we don't know or understand, the less we're able to engage fully in the lives we're living right here and right now.

When we do think about it, it's important to let go of any of the explanations that we have of it that come from other people who are trying to make us believe what they believe.  It can be fun to ponder eternity, but in our own ways.  What would we like it to be?  What would we choose to do or be if we were able to create our own ways of passing through eternity?  We can use our imaginations to explore eternity rather than using other people's ideas to explain it.

Personally, I think I get a glimpse of eternity when I look into the eyes of a child, when I hold a baby or a newborn puppy, or when I share company with a very old person who is at peace with being very old.  Then I feel renewal, perpetuation, and hope.  Those are the times I feel close to understanding what we're here for-- and understanding that the idea of eternity isn't limited to here.  We're all a part of eternity, and how we approach this life may be a good indicator of just what we're ready for in an eternal sense.

Questions to consider:

What does eternity mean to you?  Where do you fit into it?

Why do so many people need a "religious" explanation of eternity?  Are religion and eternity necessarily interrelated?

What kinds of glimpses into eternity have you had?  How have they made you feel?
For further thought:

In the external scheme of things, shining moments are as brief as the twinkling of an eye, yet such twinklings are what eternity is made of--moments when we human beings can say, "I love you," "I'm proud of you," "I forgive you," "I'm grateful for you."  That's what eternity is made of:  invisible, imperishable good stuff.

Fred Rogers
The World According to Mr. Rogers

more on eternity

  

  

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