I saw a martial arts movie (starring Jet Li…I forget the name of the movie though) where the protagonist, an insanely awesome martial artist (that would be Jet Li), somehow finds himself away from his home; on a farm. A humbling experience for the protagonist for he is not originally poor. Nevertheless, on this farm, the protagonist, via farming and his new friend, learns profound lessons about humility, responsibility and honor. At any rate, the reason why I mention this movie (whose name I can’t remember) is because in one of the scenes, the farmers; who are busy farming, stop their activities and in unison stand up extending their arms to the wind. Why? Because the wind was blowing. Seriously, they
stopped everything they were doing, extended their arms in the air and stood there, motionless for about 5 minutes, just because the wind was blowing.
This event may seem simple (and weird), but I believe it speaks to a great principle that we seldom employ (actually many principles but I will articulate one in particular). You see, the farmers stopped their work (needed to survive mind you) in order to experience the wind, something so relatively insignificant, but beautiful at the same time. Those farmers understood that life has to be lived. Ultimately, the calling to live is higher than the calling to work. Don’t get me wrong, work is important, but in the list of priorities, life comes before work. There is a great quote from the Dali Lama that states “The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man…. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” We work so hard to be able to live, yet work so little to enjoy life.
What is life (oh the philosophical answers that can be given here)? I believe life is about the little things: The rose sprinkled with the dew of dawn; the fragrance of
Orange Blossom on the beginning of Spring; the breeze’s gentle caress; the innocence of a puppy; the sight of a soaring eagle; the sound of a glass harmonica (best instrument ever); the call of a happy Mockingbird… Life is really not expensive. But in our greed and insatiable desire to forget life, we spend our hours trying to obtain paper in order that we may exchange it for items that will help us forget the simple joys in order to replace them with complications; confusions; and stress. In the end, we are left with a fear of losing these possessions, a heightened danger for our lives because of these possessions, and a neglect of peace. Does this mean we need to forgo buying items such as TVs, Radios, IPods, Laptops, etc? Maybe, but then again, maybe not. The answer to this does not lie in the items themselves but rather how we use these items. I for one am addicted to my IPod. Yet recently, I have started using my IPod less and I have been able to hear and enjoy the call of the birds, the sounds of the bees, etc.
We are on this planet for 80-100 years on average….that’s not a long time. Moreover, we have roughly 14 to 16 workable hours in our day, nine of which (and for some more) are spent in an office, truck, car, field, etc. In other words, are lives are at work, to make money to support ourselves. So, should we all quit our jobs and demand to live? Maybe, but then again, maybe not. I think that it boils down to being adamant to separate work and life. Don’t waste your weekends, do something you enjoy. Chores? Should be done during the weekdays (the days already marred with work). I am not an expert, but I think we let too many things destroy our lives. There is a reason why God was so adamant about taking a Sabbath. Moreover, studies show that if we allow ourselves one full day of rest, we are more productive during the week.
I think it’s important to sprinkle our lives with our happiness (what?): this is what I mean. I don’t think is realistic to quit your job. But during lunch break, make sure that your food is coupled with something you enjoy. For example (again I’m not an expert), while I worked in a planning office here in Gainesville, I would use my lunch breaks to eat and also to go around and take photos of things I found beautiful and/or interesting (some I’ve
posted on my picture blog). When I returned to work, not only was I satiated physically, but my mind was also more relaxed and more engaged. So the question is, what do you enjoy? Do you like reading? What’s your favorite book? Bring that with you to lunch. How about drawing, how about walking? Is there a nature trail near your job?
Also, what’s on your desk, or in your wallet, or even on the screen saver of your phone? My phone has a picture of my dog Tia on it. When I look at it, it makes me smile (because Tia is the most awesome dog ever).
In a nutshell: find opportunities in your life to reclaim your life with the things that add to your life. These things are usually (from my experience) small. It could be a flower, or time at a park. Ultimately, is your life and we have lived long enough with technology to know that it does not bring happiness, rather, that which is natural, free and abundant is what brings happiness; and only One who brings everlasting joy.
At any rate, I hope that we can go forward and take time to stop for the wind, or even take time to listen to the birds. Life is simple. We are the ones who complicate it.