Saturday, October 27, 2012

Art of Living

Ideas on the meaning of spirituality--its role in the world and its place in our personal lives--have been hotly debated for centuries. Recently, a journalist for the Peace Weekly has given us her ideas on this important subject after reading the book, Art of Living, by the German Benedictine priest Anselm Grun. By discussing spirituality in a very practical manner, Grun lays out nine ways we can go about giving spirituality a more prominent place in our daily lives.

-accept ourselves as we are and not as we think we ought to be  -make time for leisure and enjoying life

-find meaning in whatever we do
-maintain a deep relationship with others
-relate with friends
-practice the virtue of charity
-turn difficulties into opportunities
-continue to search for your dream
-live each moment.

We are asked to look for the ability and courage to live; only we can do that. Too many of us are trying to escape from ourselves, from our discontent, from guilt, from other people. We can't do it by running away from our conflicts, Grun says, and no one can do it for us, so we should resolve to face our problems bravely and come to a reconciliation. The first step in this reconciliation, he says, is to permit ourselves the time to face the situation.

Grun asks us, the journalist says, to be conscious of time; it will show us the true meaning of death. When death is always before our eyes, we will relate correctly with our work, with material goods, and with those around us; it will be our way to peace. To live with the thought of death means to live in the present totally and with awareness, and come to appreciate life as a gift. 

Grun advises that we also slow down the pace of our lives, in order to lessen the anxiety that develops from living a fast-paced life. Anxious people can't stop, wait, and take the time to look around before deciding on what to do next. Everything tends to be done quickly, without much thoughtful preparation. They live frantically, run around in circles, and fail to live well. 

To live well, to allow our spiritual nature to flourish, we have to have time for leisure; without it, we will not take full advantage of the life we have been given. Only those who have found this deep rhythmic spirituality in their lives are able to live a fully meaningful life.


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