How shall we use the time given to us? (Part 2)
November has arrived and with it the spectre of shorter days, longer nights, and as Thomas Hood (English poet, 1799-1845) would have it, “No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, November”.
I pray that these words will find you all healthy and in good spirits as we get used to our new routines! Last month we spoke about time management with an excerpt from Tolkien’s book: “The Lord of the Rings”, this month we develop the theme and bring in some heroes from Star Wars to take us along a path of spiritual growth.
What is being referred to is not just empty activity, rather, purposeful tasks that could very well enrich our bodies, minds and hearts. We would then find ourselves in a good position to really live life. The tendency today is “do as you please”. I prefer: “please [others] as you do”. We are put on this earth to be creative; to be good managers.
A good manager knows that his/her management skills begin within one’s own personal life. Then, the good manager, with the right skills, can make a success story of all professional endeavours. We could apply the picture, shown above, to our own lives. We all need to manage our lives for success!
If you can, whenever you have some time, think of each individual word that the image indicates and how it may relate to you. Whether you realise it or not, this thinking is already healthy as it can very well contribute to that, most desired, quality of life.
While a physical exam helps to ward off serious illnesses, a spiritual check-up enables us to have better quality of life, helps with spiritual coping and secures overall peace in our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic offers us the opportunity to give extra TLC to our spiritual lives. As you consider a spiritual check-up, it is good to start with baseline data that gives you insights on changes you may wish to make. In our spiritual lives, symptoms that something is wrong may go unnoticed and affect our lives in negative ways. You may not see the urgency of the moment and do something to fix it.
In the sci-fi epic “Star Wars,” the divine is pictured as a spiritual force that binds everyone together. One of the best examples of a spiritually healthy person in the franchise is Jedi Master Yoda. It is apparent to me that this character spent time growing in the spiritual force rather than neglecting his spiritual life. He understands the force with a religious basis and becomes one with it.
For you, this commitment could look like promising to do good works or praying daily. This is not a one-size-fits-all and it is different from one person to the next.
Someone once told me that every person has an unlimited capacity for spiritual growth. For this reason, the key is to start with something as the springboard for spiritual growth. This could be using this time as a spiritual retreat, getting involved in the study of a good spiritual book or many other related activities.
I see religion and spirituality as non-competing entities; one should strengthen the other. Above all, the purity of the heart is the key ingredient here. God has a way of communicating the truth to people who have made a commitment to serving Him.
At various points along this commitment journey of faith, it may seem like you are spinning your wheels or taking five steps forward followed by four steps back. Often, we learn more from our failures than our successes in the spiritual realm.
Your commitment moves you forward along the spiritual plain and you should look for results in the short and long terms. A good example is a jigsaw puzzle. It gets a little easier as more pieces fall into place. It doesn’t just happen, but this can come in the form of acquiring new knowledge, attending religious activities and performing various service activities. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many activities must be completed virtually due to social distancing guidelines.
Yes, it is important to assess where you are now with your baseline spirituality. Maybe you made a commitment to do this in the past and you failed to continue the work, but it is never too late to get started again. However, setting a new goal moves you forward.
The times we live in, enables you to develop new goals because our regular routines have been shaken. Remember to measure your goals so that you can celebrate your successes later.
My best wishes on the journey ahead. I will love you and leave you with the previously mentioned phrase: “ … All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”