In the hustle and bustle of life, I have often found that the little rituals of life that I have setup not only help ground me, but also help to nourish various parts of my life, by maintaining important bonds with my friends and family. For example:
1) Every morning, when I get to the office, I always have my first cup of coffee in silence, before I even turn my computer on. This lets me relax, and focus on the tasks at hand, as well ground myself.
2) On days when I can, I always try to set aside 10 to 20 minutes during lunch for meditation or contemplation.
3) Every Tuesday or Thursday, my in-laws host a big family dinner. While this may seem horrible to many people, I am blessed to have great in-laws, and it is always a great time to catch-up and just spend time together.
4) Every Friday I try to have a big lunch with friends. This gives us a chance to catch-up, and stay connected. Some Friday’s we may have four people, and some Friday’s it may be standing room only, but no matter what it is a great time!
5) Every Saturday morning my son and I go to the doughnut shop together. While not the healthiest ritual, it gives us a chance for “guy time” as my four year old calls it. We talk about the previous week of school, and our big plans for the weekend.
6) I am extremely lucky that I married someone who likes college football almost as much as I do. So when football season comes around we will try to get all of our chores done by 11:00 am, so that we can watch the first kick-off, and generally we will stay up until the last game is over.
While these little rituals may seem trivial, they have become very important to my life, and they each serve a unique purpose. I often hear people say that they don’t have time to take care of themselves, to meditate, to spend time with friends, or to spend time with their families. I have found that I have to make time for myself, my friends, and my family. I have a very hectic work schedule, and with an almost two hour round-trip commute, I have to make a habit out of the little rituals that help fulfill and nourish the various areas of my life.
“I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.” – Warren Buffett
This is my twelfth post in a series, where each Monday (if possible) I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.
L= Living in the Now: I was debating on whether or not to write a specific post on living in the now, because in a way it seemed like a cop-out, given that “Living in the Now”, is the name of this blog. However, it is a topic/subject that has become an integral part of my spiritual path, which is the reason that I chose to name by blog Living in the Now, so I guess it is about time that I wrote a specific post on the subject!
As some of you may have already read in the About the Author section, my life used to always revolve around the next goal, or the next step in my life. I always thought that at the next stage in my life, or after the completion of my next goal, I would be truly happy. If only I could ace the next test or class, get married, get into law school, graduate from law school, find a good job, have a child, etc., I would surely be happy. However, each stage or step in my “master plan”, only brought temporary or momentary happiness, so I would once again firmly set my sights on the next goal or stage. Many people view this type of attitude as being a positive aspect of a “driven” or competitive person, and without a doubt if I wasn’t a naturally driven (stubborn) and fiercely competitive person, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. It would have been extremely easy for me to have become discouraged or given up during my undergraduate studies when I would work the night shift at a 7-eleven, go straight to my classes (1/2 asleep, headache, feeling nauseated), come home and study for 3-4 hours, sleep for 5-6 hours, and do it all over again. So perhaps having an ultimate goal and dream in mind helped me keep my nose to the proverbial grindstone, and push through. However, no matter how many scholastic and work related awards and accolades I achieved, even after getting into law school and landing a scholarship, I wasn’t happy, I was mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted, and I wasn’t always a pleasure to be around, as my wife can attest to.
I think the turnaround for me came after I ran into an old high school friend, who commented on how much I had achieved, and how happy I must be. I remember warmly smiling, and feeling a bit smug that i had in fact accomplished pretty much every goal that I had set for myself all the way back in middle school; however, I distinctly remember feeling an empty hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sure, I had accomplished a lot of goals, and received numerous recognitions for my achievements, but I felt empty, I wasn’t happy, and I knew it, and there was no hiding from that fact. For the first time, I realized that I was desperately seeking the “something”, that Baruti mentioned in his guest piece last week, “Knowledge and Experience of Self“, but that I had been searching for it in all the wrong places. Read more…
The other day I was flipping through the channels, and I came across some sort of special involving Oprah. It was an extremely interesting segment, where Oprah was really opening up regarding her background, her spiritual path, etc. One thing that really struck me was when she asked the interviewer (and the audience at large) a very simple, yet profound question, “What do you know for sure?”
This seemingly simple question really got me to think about my own life, background, and spiritual path. It also made me ask myself several questions. First, have I really progressed, even after many years of seeking and practice? Second, have I really come to any greater understanding of myself or the universe than I had a decade ago? Third, is there anything that I can definitively say for sure?
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am in the process of editing a book that I have been working on since 2004, where I really explore the teachings of the eight major world religions, and discuss how I have used those teachings in my own path. The editing process has been extremely interesting, because I can literally see how my views and thoughts have changed, sometimes drastically, regarding God, the spiritual path, and even who I really am. There have been portions that even at eight years old still remain relevant and accurate to me, while there are sections that are less than a year old, that I have heavily revised and updated. Read more…
April Rain Song:
Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night -
And I love the rain.
- Langston Hughes (1902-1967).
I have always loved the sound of rain, which is probably why I love spring in Oklahoma, and wistfully wish that I lived someplace like Washington State, where it rains almost all year long. Unfortunately, those of us in Oklahoma have been suffering through the worst drought since the famous “Dust Bowl” period. Luckily, today we have been blessed by several hours of hard steady rain. The rain and occasional thunderclap have added a wonderful soundtrack to my workday, as I finish up some discovery responses in a legal case that I am working on. I have also enjoyed the fresh and clean smell of nature as the various plants outside of my office window open up to receive the rain.
During lunch I replied to a series of emails from a reader asking for advice on how to deal with the spiritual and emotional highs and lows of life. My advice to her was, as I have stated several times on previous posts, is to simply learn to go with the flow of life. I always, half jokingly, tell people to watch “The Big Lebowski“, and try to be more like Jeff Bridges’ character “The Dude”, because no matter the situation, The Dude abides. Read more…
Recently the world was abuzz because of a theory from Harold Camping, the millionaire owner of the Christian Family Radio Network, that the rapture of Christians would occur on May 21, 2011. Although Harold Camping made a similar prediction in 1994, which obviously was incorrect, thousands of people sold, or donated, everything they owned to spread this message, and wait for the end of the world to occur. Obviously the sunrise on May 22, 2011, was a devastating shock to many of those people who had so completely bought into Mr. Camping’s false message.
Beyond Mr. Camping’s debunked theories, there is a constantly changing array of doomsday scenarios, whether it be the past Y2K predictions, or the current Niburu, Planet X, Nemisis, and 2012 predictions. Also, there are a never ending string of conspiracy theories involving the Illuminati, Freemasons, Bilderburg group, Bohemian Grove, etc. and their supposed desire to control the world. When these doomsday scenarios fail to materialize, or the conspiracies are proven false, new dates are set, or entirely new theories are created to take the former theory’s place.
The real questions in all of this is why would someone buy so fully into these fringe predictions, which are solely supported by shaky math, questionable biblical and ancient document interpretations, supposed psychic messages, or even a total lack of evidence (after all if you can’t prove it doesn’t exist, then it must exist)? Read more…