Frank is having a difficult day. He realizes it almost immediately upon waking, after tossing and turning all night. He feels physically and emotionally drained. Within a few minutes, his day only gets worse when he steps under the shower spray before noticing that he’s out of soap. Later, at work, he bumps into Jim and Elaine and immediately feels poor when they share details of their recent trip to Fiji. He knows that his trips to Cuba the previous winter pales by comparison. The icing on Frank’s Day occurs when he notices the women in the office flirting with Doug, a new employee, who is young, athletic, and handsome. By his own definition, Frank is old, overweight, and out of shape. Why, Frank asks himself, must life be such a struggle?
What Frank doesn’t realize, is that life isn’t out to get him. Life doesn’t have an agenda in which it blesses some and curses others. Life, in fact, isn’t favouring anyone. It is an impartial force, operating impersonally. Unbeknownst to Frank, his biggest problem is that he’s unaware that the quality of his life is directly related to the nature of his thoughts about his life. On the day that Frank knows with absolute certainty that his life is terrible, the following is happening just outside of his awareness:
When Frank was getting out of bed, a man named George, aged sixty-seven, is waking on a city sidewalk grate, after spending the night shivering in the few clothes that he has to his name. While Frank was muttering about a missing bar of soap, a young African girl named Nale–who has never experienced the luxury of a shower–is desperately missing her mother, who died of AIDS the previous day. Regarding Frank’s feeling of poverty about his trip to Cuba, he is unaware that the average Cuban earns approximately $25.00 per month. And while Frank was belittling his own physique, a man named Richard–who has been in a wheelchair since a car accident four years earlier–still dreams of the mobility that Frank takes for granted.
The point of relating such different lives is not to make us feel better by contemplating the plight of others. Not at all! I’ve employed contrast to help awaken us to a new way of thinking about our own lives; to experience the immediate benefits that occur when we govern our attitude. In doing so, we may become masters in the art of living. Such is not reserved for a privileged few, and we don’t have to trek to a mountaintop to attain our degree. If we are willing to welcome our own evolution–via lessons in the trenches of life–every down may yield an up; every detour may lead to a more meaningful destination.
A life master, if asked to share a technique to help us improve the quality of our days, might offer this: “Stay in the isness of life.” Stress, anxiety, and discomfort arise from resisting life, which is just another way of saying “I want life to be other than it is.” Such resistance robs us of the beauty arising in the present moment. It serves no positive purpose whatsoever. A wiser approach is to align–here and now–with the flow of life. When we do, we may thereby experience peace without demanding that life change to suit our needs.
Accepting life in the present moment doesn’t mean foregoing our dreams. Far from it! In fact, when we’re at peace we become an open conduit to intuitive nudges that will help us fulfill them! Once we truly know what we desire–be it improved health, greater wealth, or more success in various aspects of life–our task is to remain strong in our faith that a way will be revealed. For those who question whether this can actually help us create a better life, my suggestion is to “try it, and see for yourself.” The process of attracting what we desire will begin…in the time it takes to change our thoughts.
Dare to dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell
P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏