In the midst of our busy, frantic, high-tech lives, it is vital to keep hold of the real reasons why we are here; the things that really matter.
It’s far too easy to get entrapped by high-tech society and its toys, or by career and its never-ending promises. Should we get the latest HD 4K system? Or satellite TV? How’s the car doing? Perhaps a new one wouldn’t be a bad idea. And don’t forget the computer, plus related software! Oh, and then there’s the mobile phone. Do you have the one that sings and dances yet?……
The point is that none of this is what life is really all about at the deepest level. Certainly, these trinkets are fun to have at times. Often, they can be most useful. However, all too often, we are in danger of letting our minds get bogged down in this stuff; paying the bills, buying gadgets, and other peripheral preoccupations. Yes, you do have to budget time for some of this. However, let’s not budget away all the time that there is!
If you fall prey to doing so, a certain hardening of the spiritual arteries occurs imperceptibly. What you focus your mind upon always expands. Thus, if your focus is primarily external, concerned with gadgets and getting ahead in life, then this is what will inevitably grow in your awareness. At the same time, you can gradually become spiritually desensitized; less aware of your essential humanity and your basic capacity to relate to others and to Nature in an authentic manner.
People tend to compartmentalize their lives in an attempt to retain some sanity. For instance, many talk about spending “quality time” with their family. In other words, with little time to spare in a busy life, such people are determined that whatever time they do spend is the highest “quality time”.
However, this kind of thinking is a product of a modern high-speed society, and betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of how human nature really works. Children don’t want “quality time.” They don’t even understand the notion of it. They want all the time and love that you can possibly give them! Most parents who preoccupy themselves with “quality time”, whilst indulging in their real obsession – their careers – wake up one morning to discover that they have missed watching their kids grow up.
We can also live for the future whilst failing to live in the present. It’s so easy to make ambitious plans involving jobs, assets, and money in the bank. These plans promise you happiness at some indefinite time in the future. In the meantime, you fail to be happy right here and now! We should indeed remember to stop and smell the roses. Instead, we motor right on by; eyes fixed firmly on the shimmering mirage dancing on the horizon, which we never ever quite seem to reach, no matter how fast we drive.
The point of all this is that what really matters in life usually lies in the immediacy of the moment. It lies in relationships with loved ones, intimate moments of communion with Nature, dwelling in silent meditation upon your inner core, giving of your time freely to others without harboring resentment or regret, experiencing the journey right now instead of at some indefinite point in the future.
The in-tray will always be full. That will be as true on the day you die as it is today. On the deathbed, nobody has ever wished that they could have spent more time at the office. The time for living and being happy, and for sharing your life with others, is right now. If you await some future date, when everything is “just right”, you will wait forever.
None of this implies that you should throw away goals and strategic planning for the future. These are essential tools for shaping the life you desire. However, it is vital to find the right balance. This is all too often missing. The secret of happiness is to realize that it is a moment by moment choice. To
be happy, choose to be happy wherever you are in life, and regardless of external circumstances. Most people miss this. They think that being happy is some rare elusive state, attained only as a result of achieving external material, or status, targets. In truth, you achieve happiness by consciously choosing happiness NOW, and living in the moment.
Precious experiences only emerge when you make time for them. They do not always show themselves during periods of “quality time”. They cannot be summoned to order. They unfold gently as a result of an attitude to life. Moreover, they are different for each person. These experiences can warm your heart and perform deep inner transformation. They may be very simple; so much so that to describe them to another might evoke a “so what?” response. Yet, they remain infinitely precious to you.
For one person, it might be finding a baby bird that has fallen from a nest, and having the unique learning experience of nurturing that tiny creature for a while. For another, it might be watching a son or daughter grow up, and giving love unconditionally to that child. It may be the thoughts that come to you gently, as you stroll alone in the countryside, or in the company of your beloved.
Are you now going to “allocate” some time for these activities? If so, you are missing the whole point. It is a matter of lifestyle and life purpose – what you are really here for – and not of time management. If our schedules are too long, and our minds too filled with out own self-serving needs, such moments will be extremely rare. Then life may “jolt us awake” with some unexpected happening or deep tragedy.
First-hand experience of things that really matter and touch us deeply only come if we allow plenty of untroubled time for them. We need to always conduct our lives in a spirit of gentleness and inner searching. Then, we shall reap the true riches within our lives; riches that cannot be bought with money. We will live authentically and in happiness. This is our true purpose in life.
Copyright Asoka Selvarajah. All Rights Reserved.