Where are you on that spectrum?
Illusion is everywhere, and to move beyond an automatic existence we must penetrate those illusions and arrive at a truth – that although everyone is entitled to a life, most of us barely have an existence.
The reasons for this are many and varied, but to turn the situation around we must distinguish between those living and those existing when it comes to the ever present nature of advice and guidance. Those who seek to tell us how to run our life (as a replica of their life) are abundant. But always be wary of advice and guidance from those who merely exist. How can they possibly know anything about Life?
Modern existence can be sophisticated. Today’s ‘beasts of burden’ carry smartphones, drive nice cars, live in comfortable houses, converse ‘intelligently’ about the news and read books. But these things do not make them alive.
The mark of a Life is the way in which we perform the things that matter most. And to every single human being these are eating, drinking and breathing.
Eating – observe, note, register and mark how you eat, what you eat, where, when and with who you eat. Do these things consciously. Gather for food purposefully and deliberately. Take time over it, celebrate it, give thanks for it. No time for this? Fair enough, I understand the challenge. But if there is no time for this then don’t expect life to give you much else. Food is alive, eating enables you to conjoin with life.
Drinking – be mindful, aware and conscious of what liquids you partake. Savour them. Use drinking time to actually drink in the liquid wholly and fully, feeling its refreshing or tingling sensations. Notice the temperature and colour of the liquid. Notice how it makes you feel immediately and then a while afterwards. Adjust your intake accordingly. Cease automatic drinking immediately.
Breathing – the biggest one of all. Anyone who has even dabbled in yoga, tai-chi, pilates or any form of movement combined with breath will know that, at first, the novice finds the practice both enlivening and exhausting. It is almost that ‘in existence’ we are taking panic breaths simply to survive, whereas our birthright is to breathe deeply from the cup of life.
How you perform these three important functions (regrettably squeezed in by many people between and after everything else) will define the quality of your life or the level of your existence. And it is important to note that the time, opportunity and ability to do each of these things well may have to be fought for.
It is through an active engagement and development of how we eat, drink and breathe that we define or run away from our humanity. These are the beginning points of personal power, and the root from which all else flowers and grows, or withers and dies. A sophisticated mind may well disregard all this, but we must then ask how alive the owner of that mind really is?