Life as a blessing
It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.
Life is a beautiful mystery. And yet, for some reason, we have built societies around systems and structures that prevent us from seeing and experiencing this on a day-to-day basis. We look forward to weekends and dread Mondays. We plan for retirement while trading our labor to sock away for that future that isn’t guaranteed. More and more, we live hand to mouth, while surrounded by the greatest amounts of resources that have ever been assembled.
I’m aware that I write with a very United States-centric perspective, and that other cutlures be they “western” or not hold slightly different ones. That said, this thing we call “western” has been spreading across the globe for decades. I fear that what we see as the primary goal of life — to produce — will be the primary goal globally before we realize it.
I fear that more and more, we will make life short. How I do this in my own life is a central inquiry. What can I do, day-by-day, moment-by-moment, to expand that life to its fullness? The only way I can imagine is to put everything on the table, to take a stand for the things that are truly important, to cultivate the relationships that matter, to do the work that expands the heart and mind, to feel into the divine nature of each moment and each place, and to honor the gift of being alive through the divine blessing of being present to my life. This is the legacy I wish for us all.