Eternal moments are those instances in your life when you unexpectedly drop through the layers of everyday awareness and reach what I call the Real. This deepest level feels solid, authentic, permanent and timeless. Mystical experiences are eternal moments par excellence because they not only possess these basic qualities, but also contain many other life-changing ones. On occasion, an eternal moment may seem magical. Most are pleasant but some are sad or traumatic. All of these heightened moments are seared into the psyche, never to be forgotten. They are just as real in our conscious recollection of them as when they first happened.
Can those fond memories which remain vivid over the years be considered eternal moments? Poignant as these are, they can only be regarded as eternal moments if they reach that deepest, enduring and timeless reality.
Possible occasions for eternal moment
Eternal moments can occur at any time but certain occasions provide fertile soil for their flowering. Even then, there’s no guarantee they’ll appear. They come unexpectedly and lie beyond our agency. Witnessing a setting sun, viewing a fire in the hearth, or sharing a romantic moment may seed an eternal moment. An impactful dream, a loved one’s passing, or an encounter with an other-worldly spirit are other possibilities. Even a sudden deep encounter with a stranger can be an occasion for an eternal moment.
Have you ever given birth or watched the birth of a child? Something hushed, magical, and joyous occurs upon witnessing the moment when the baby’s crown appears or when greeting this incredible being for the first time. A newborn’s appearance feels like a miraculous visit from an unseen world.
Perhaps you experienced an eternal moment as a child at Christmas time. I remember bounding down the stairs only to stop with awe as I viewed the lighted tree and colorful presents. The whole scene sparkled. Although many other Christmases contained these same elements, I only touched that deep, eternal place of light that one time.
Eternal moments may be somber
Eternal moments aren’t always joyous. They may be somber or even horrific but they still include the same basic elements of touching raw reality, sensing time has stopped, and vividly remembering the event many years later. Some of these darker events may need extensive healing before you can accept and understand them. Besides working with a therapist, it’s advantageous when they surface to focus on what lies underneath and around the memory of that moment which you probably didn’t notice before. You may then discover a solidity, an unseen presence, or some vast container supporting the scene.
One day when I was in sixth grade, a neighbor came over to help my brother and me get ready for school. She said my father had been taken ill when my mother drove him to the train station. At lunch time, we came bouncing home, rushing into the house. Seeing my mother quietly sitting on the couch, we blurted out: “Hi Mom, how’s Daddy?” She simply said, “Daddy died.” I can still see her face, the couch, the solidity of the surrounding living room and my brother next to me as we tried to grasp this devastating news.
The appearance of a deceased loved one may be another eternal moment, provided it contains these defining traits. After her death, my very dear friend appeared to many of her friends and acquaintances, but not to me. It took four months before she came to me in a lucid dream. It was so real that I could physically feel her arms around me. I broke down in tears realizing that I would have been devastated if she had appeared any earlier. To this day, I can feel her arms around me, giving me comfort.
Concretizing eternal moments
Even though eternal moments stay in our memory forever, the finer details can slip away. If you concretize your positive experiences with a picture, song, or poem close to the time when it occurred, you keep these subtle points alive and vibrant.
I wrote a poem about an eternal moment which occurred when I was a young woman, newly in love.
Silken beard with flecks of gray
Sweet kisses that transcend all understanding.
Time forgot to flow that moment with you.
Hand and hand across the square,
Lighted New York like a fairyland
Celebrating the presence on earth
Of two heavenly mates.
Even now when I recall it, my heart opens and I’m brought back to that transcendent moment filled with wonder.
What are your eternal moments? How have they changed you? Did they gift you with a fuller understanding of life’s meaning?