“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Friday, 6 July 2012

Living with Intention

A wise friend of mine, Eugene Hughes, posted the following on Facebook this morning: "How do you want your day to be? Ask yourself what's the single most important outcome? It could be a way of doing or a way of being."

Time for reflection and rest is so important. It is too easy to rush from task to task, ticking off items on the to-do list, and then straight on to the next thing. But it is not the best way to live our lives. We are "spiritual beings having a human experience", to quote Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and we need to remember that more often. Or at least I do.

In his wonderful book Sabbath: Finding rest, renewal and delight in our busy lives, Wayne Miller writes:

"What makes life fruitful? The attainment of wisdom? The establishment of a just and fair society? The creation of beauty? The practice of loving kindness? Thomas Jefferson suggested that human life and liberty were intimately entwined with the pursuit of happiness. Instead, life has become a maelstrom in which speed and accomplishment, consumption and productivity have become the most valued human commodities. In the trance of overwork, we take everything for granted. We consume things, people, and information. We do not have time to savor this life, nor to care deeply and gently for ourselves, our loved ones, or for our world; rather, with increasingly dizzying haste, we use them all up, and throw them away."

He goes on to say that we have lost the rhythm of work and rest, and explains that "Sabbath honors the necessary wisdom of dormancy. ... We, too, must have a period in which we lie fallow, and restore our souls. ... Sabbath time ... is a time to let our work, our lands, our animals lie fallow, to be nourished and refreshed. Within this sanctuary, we become available to the insights and blessings of deep mindfulness that arise only in stillness and time. When we act from a place of deep rest, we ar more capable of cultivating what the Buddhists would call right understanding, right action, and right effort."

It is a different approach to our lives. It is a way of being as well as a way of doing. It is living with intention.

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