So what do we do with that?
There are several prevailing notions of how people can best enjoy their time. Some prefer to grind and trudge through days and then celebrate with excess alcohol, drugs, sugary food and television. These things don’t all have to be as bad as I just laid out. They can take the shape of a nice bath that makes you happy. Or warm food. Or music. It can be traveling. At its root I’m talking about everything that we can indulge and enjoy that is external to our effort and being.
According to others, another more fulfilling way to spend our time would be to work. To do work that we love – that we pour our hearts into and spend our creative hours toiling on. The process of the work is rewarding, and the ability to spend countless hours in the flow of producing and creating is unlike anything else in the human experience. We experience this when we are so immersed in working on something beyond ourselves. Maybe even bigger than ourselves. When we help people, when we make art, when we lead a project or write a paper or basically do any type of work with passion.
And yet there are still others that argue that having a loving community beats all of these things. It doesn’t really matter what you do because the most important thing is to be kind to others. If you can radiate positive energy, you are likely to have it reciprocated back to you. If you aren’t warm and honest and most of all aware of others, is it really even worth enjoying any of the other things?
Some try to live like Jesus. Some learn to be moved by art. Some people try to lead philosophical lives.
This brings me to maybe the most important part of this article. Awareness. Can you really enjoy anything without being aware of it? It is possible to put your mind on autopilot, or even worse, overanalyze the food, the drugs, the alcohol, the bath, the work, and the friendships that you try to savor and they all end up slipping through your fingers. You can’t hold on to them. The good moments and good times do not last forever. So some people try to learn to live moment by moment by taking in everything. By having a supreme awareness. And while they appreciate the good times for what they are, they do not get overexcited, because the good times are only good because bad times exist. And by appreciating the good times they learn to appreciate the bad as well.
But we have so long to live. So what do we do with that?
What do we do, knowing that our life expectancy is another sixty years? What part of our life do we focus on?
Finding someone’s answer to this will tell you a lot about her. I think the answer lies at some sort of combination of all of them. But you can only appreciate all of them with awareness. With and only with awareness will we be able to know what smaller things to zone in on and appreciate, and really savor the flavor.