What I wish filmspotters could teach me:
oldkid: How to see beyond the here and now.
Hmmmm.... I'm not sure this is something one teaches. My wife suggests a Magic 8 Ball. Verbals might suggest alcohol.
There are two ways to go with this, at least three ways that I know how: futurism, deep focus and mysticism.
1. Jesus futurism
(Those who consider Christian stuff to be mumbo jumbo, you can skip this paragraph. Or you can read it if you want to be entertained. Whatever.)
In the teaching of Jesus, the secret to living a right life here is to constantly be considering the future, especially one's future with God. Jesus' ethical teaching is constantly referring to the future state-- not necessarily "heaven", but the final judgment of God and one's eternal state. There are three basic principles he refers to:
a. How we treat others (especially those under our authority) is how God will treat us
"Judge not lest you be judged" "Forgive and you will be forgiven" "By whatever measure you measure, by that measure you will be measured." "Enter into the kingdom prepared for you... for when I was a stranger you invited me in."
b. Whatever we take for ourselves, we will be given the opposite
"Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, those who humble themselves will be exalted."
c. Whatever kind of suffering/comfort we find ourselves in now, we will be living the opposite
"In your life you received good things and Lazarus evil; even so, now he is comforted and you are in agony." "Blessed are you who mourn, for you shall be comforted." "Woe to you who are rich for you have already received your comfort; woe to you who laugh now for you shall mourn and weep."
In the end, Jesus' recommendation for us to live beyond the present is to remember the future. He told us clearly what the future holds (in general terms), if we can remember the future, it will actively change the present. And this is the most important thing: the point of looking beyond the here and now is to change the here and now. Because if we do not change the here and now, then our "beyond" will always look the same.
2. Deep focus
This is a paradoxical piece of advice to look beyond the here and now, and that is to look deeply into the here and now. This doesn't mean take up particle physics (unless that is your deepest desire), but instead to be so "here" that other "heres" are relatively insignificant. Another way of saying this is in a phrase in an old tract: Don't be caught up by the urgent, but instead focus on the important. What are the one or two most important things in your life? I know your kids are one. So deeply focus on caring for and loving them that other things fade away. Yes, you will miss opportunities. There will be so many "good" things that seem important. And for someone without a focus, they may very well be important. But once you have the one or two things that are really important to you, let everything else go. To everyone else, you will seem to be "in another world" or "unrealistic" or "obsessed." And they'd be right. My two focuses are the homeless and my immediate family. Everything else is but shadow to me. People tell me that I need a break or that I need to focus on my health more or whatever. But I can't do that (unless I'm watching a movie). I've got more important things to do than to measure my life by someone else's standard.
There are two things that are essential ingredients to a happy, productive life: love and silence. We must give and receive love, which can keep us very busy. But we must balance out our love with silence. In silence is prayer, it is rest, it is renewal, it is peace. More often than not, we can find both God and ourselves in the silence. For those full of fear or anxiety or guilt or doubt or pain, silence is frightening. But it is still essential because without silence we cannot properly process and move past these issues. In order for silence to do it's work, we must trust the Spirit in the silence. Trust that the Spirit will heal us, and will empower us to keep living. Trust that if we listen, the Spirit will speak. And in an age of the internet and iPods and social networks, silence is hard to achieve. There are so many things we "need" to do. And our minds are so busy. We need to stop and allow our minds to rest and allow the Spirit to do some work for us. So, at times, we desperately need to shut our computers off, take our headphones out, get in the shower and turn on the water. Or I like to occasionally go to a monastery and take a few days of silence (Trappist monasteries are good for that, and many have lodging for men and women).
Sermon's done. I think I'll go to the silence of sleep now.