What we truly believe?
I had lunch with a friend yesterday and he was talking about taking a trip, something he has discussed with me quite a few times. He is a few months older than me, he is 64 years old. I brought up the fact that, perhaps too bluntly, that he was running out of time, and that if he wanted to make this trip he should perhaps begin planning it now. By running out of time, I did not mean that he is ill or anything like that, it is just with the rapidity of time and before you know it, 6 years have gone by. Now when someone is 24, six years may not be that big of a deal, but when 64, well it is. At 70, he may not be able to make the trip that he so desires to do. In any case, if you are 24 or 64, six years of further life is not something promised or guaranteed.
Moments fly by and when this reality is truly understood, even the slow moving boring ones are precious, because most of them will be swallowed up and forgotten, When this reality is grasped, boring moments become less and the precious ones become more common. We can cling to nothing, it is not even sand that slips through our fingers, our lives are just moments, gone before they are experienced, for they become memories in an instant. It is our inner awareness that can bring all of this together and hopefully give some meaning to our often absurd lives, filled with routines, habits and the seeking to escape that reality. What are all of these moments far, our lives, and our inner awareness?
What wakes us up, gives us our deep self awareness is our ability to make choices, to step back and reflect, it what gives direction to our lives and hopefully meaning. If life is just about getting up, doing the same thing everyday and then going to bed without a deepening of our self awareness, or experiencing any kind of real personal thought, or choice, during one of our fleeting days, then we are the most pitiable of creatures. Our beliefs are important, well those that are really believed are and they have consequences. So self reflection of some kind is needed to begin t take deep root in this world and to try to make some sense out of it all -- no two people do it alike, even if they profess the same religious, spiritual or philosophical path.
Life is a mixture of beauty, meaning, ugliness and absurdity, which of these wins out? I believe our small everyday choices will decide which will win out in the end. Our deepest beliefs, even if not adverted to will in the end dictate how we live our lives, so I think it better to try to see what it is that is believed.
Br. Mark Dohle, OCSO
Holy Spirit Monastery