“There is nothing that life isn’t. Life is ALL.” This was a response I received as I laid in my bed sharing with Spirit a bit about my day, and noting that life is funny. It’s magnificent, torturous, glorious, defeating, crazy, peaceful, experimental, determined, obnoxious, miraculous and so much more. Spirit responded, stating that life is indeed all things. There is nothing that it is not.
I found myself pondering the question, what is it then, to truly live? We are all presumably here to live life, to have a full human experience. What if the ultimate, deep, challenging questions of what it means to be human…who am I? why am I here? what is the point of all of this? where do I fit in? etc….can all be answered by one simple thing? Living. To LIVE…all the messiness, all the amazement, all the mistakes, all the rewards, ALL of it!
Consider our culture today. Think about the myriad of ways we seem to avoid living. We find ways to have others or even machines do things for us. We escape through addictions. We mask through virtual interactions. We medicate to keep from feeling. These are just a few of the ways we avoid through checking out. Then there are the ways we avoid through obsessively checking in. We claim we have no time for this or that because of work, responsibilities, or obligations. We immerse ourselves in one area or domain of life, much to the detriment of another.
If life is ALL, then does it not make sense, if we are truly living, to ensure that we are giving a certain amount of attention to ALL of life? I can hear the opposition already. “But this is not possible! We cannot give attention to all things. I don’t have time, energy, stamina, interest, etc. for that!”
What if giving attention to all things is as simple as being present? In presence, we experience the power of our senses, taking things in with full experience, negating nothing. In presence, we are engaged with the moment, the person, the place, the sounds, the colors, the emotions, etc. In presence, we are awake. We are vibrant. We are in the flow. Each moment has something unique to offer. Each moment brings something new from life to our awareness. Each moment challenges us to be present, to take it in, to experience all. Each moment challenges us to live, to fully experience life.
So I ask, if we as a culture are not fully living, what are we doing? If we are here to experience all, then could there be room for all of life’s experiences within us? Might we find a way to allow everything to have its purpose and place in our lives? Allowing or accepting everything doesn’t mean that we don’t also have the freedom to choose what works for us in each moment. But it does allow for us to make wise choices and decisions.
Can you deeply appreciate that amazing chocolate cake as you are eating it? Can you allow yourself to fully feel the anger or resentment about that unconscionable thing that happened? Can you notice the sounds, colors, people and textures around you as you walk down the street? Can you tune into your body and notice what it needs in this moment, and honor that? Can you wholeheartedly listen to the person talking to you? Can you take a moment to simply notice and appreciate the breath you receive?
Being present in each moment cultivates every virtue I can think of, supporting us on our common goal of being fully human. We become more compassionate, understanding, loving, accepting, forgiving, discerning, courageous, selfless, authentic, self-disciplined, confident, devoted, patient and harmonious. We do less judging, criticizing, ignoring, hiding, avoiding, and reacting. Moments are fleeting, but the gift of life that we experience in being present to those moments is eternal. Perhaps this new year, 2016, can be about living, and thus about wakefulness. Perhaps this wakefulness will bring inspirations and intuitions that lead us into the future in service and love of our common humanity.
May your year be filled with presence and peace!