A cycling friend and quite a successful professional, is similar to me, recovering from a recent operation. In our discussions we realised that to be in pain and discomfort is one thing, but staying positive, getting perspective, and dealing with the situation mentally is something on a next level. It seems to me that every bit of human hardship and suffering has a strong emotional and deep spiritual component to it, whatever your religious beliefs are.
Being part of the human sapiens (litterally: wise man) species you are a thinking and sense-making being. Different to animals and plants, it is almost impossible for us to be truly alive without understanding some of the meaning and purpose of life and events. Sadly, whether, how and what we think often become the real problem of our problems!
Recently, I was asked: “Why do you think so deeply about life? Is it really necessary, or are you just complicating things?” It is true of course, we can certainly over-complicate life by participating in “analysis paralysis”. But over several decades of working with people, helping them in business and other settings, taught me that the right perspective can set you free to live a much happier and more productive life. In order to drive your car at night, you need to have your lights on. Perspective is your light that keeps you on the road.
Furthermore, living life without reflection is like eating without tasting your food properly – a waste of effort and energy. Life can only be lived optimally when we “taste” and appreciate it, and learn and grow as we continue. There are not many things as sad as foolish old people – people who survived through life without experiencing it, making sense of it, and living it truly and consciously. So many live life without seeing beauty in all its colours, without hearing music in all its possibilities, and without receiving and giving love unconditionally. What a waste of time and opportunity. But your life can be much different.
The best of life often comes through the toughest of times. Through the ages wise men and women have learned that every ordeal in life brings gifts, but one can only receive them if you are receptable to it – unwrapping and unpacking the box it comes in. Let’s stop letting so many gifts of life go unopened!
There is even a scripture that, referring to hardship, says everything works for the good of those who love God (Rom 8:28). In my understanding this includes the fact there is something good coming to you especially through hardship. Life was never intended to be one long misery. But we often make it so through the way think, believe and react. And then we stay in the miserable past or fear the future because of the past we (think we) had. The alternative is far better: think different and better everyday, and enjoy the gift of the present moment.
When lying in the cardiac ICU, still hallucinating because of the anaesthetics, I recited Ps 23: “The Lord is my shephard, I lack nothing”. Then I had an epiphany and I realised with so much appreciation: In this moment, right now, I have all I need: all the oxygen, all the food, all the care. I was overflowed with undescribable inner peace, joy and rest.
So my friend, fellow homo sapiens, let’s be in the “now” and enjoy today’s “daily bread” with a grateful and appreciative heart. Let’s choose to discover, enjoy and taste life to the full, receiving all the riches that are abundantly and continuously being poured out on us, and then share the riches thereof to make it even more! And let those emotions and thoughts fill your whole being, making you into the light you were made to be. This kind of life starts with a choice (decision) which then should be acted on in the present moment.
May you choose life, and then live it to the full! That’s my sincere wish for you.