Sunday Morning Musings: As an old year comes to an end and a new one begins, it seems to be a time for the making of resolutions. Or as some of us like to think, a time for hoping and wishing that things would change in our lives and in the world. On the other hand, many say that they no longer make New Years’ resolutions because they do not often keep them very long. That may be very true, but is it that we find change difficult; or do we resolve to undertake too much. As someone reminded me recently, perhaps we need to think like the person who decides not to drink for one day at a time, rather than telling himself that he can’t drink for the rest of his life. Our goals or resolutions need to be attainable, as well as measureable, realistic (make them SMART).
I have found the same to be true about my spiritual life. (Not that one can or should ever try to separate one’s spirituality from the rest of life.) I have made resolutions in the past about spirituality but have often (always?) kept these goals to myself. Most of my “secret” reasons have had to do with what I considered the idea that these are private matters. As a result, I would resolve to pray more, be kind to everyone, exercise more, eat healthier foods – you know the drill. Usually, because of my lack of will power, I would gradually or not so gradually revert to my old ways. Often times even without thinking – my old patterns would return.
I had the right idea. That is to say, my whole life is inter-connected. I know that “balance” was the key. Often I would find something that gives me a reason to change and so I pursue it. Unfortunately, I often got stuck doing too much of the one thing. Some people walk to exercise their body and use that time to meditate and converse with their God. Some people run because running gives them a “high”, literally and figuratively. I admire these people who find the connectedness of the physical and the mental and the spiritual. When I served in Almonte, Ontario (birthplace of James Naismith, inventor of basketball) Naismith’s primary focus for all humans was always “body, mind and spirit”.
Though he lived over 100 years ago, he wasn’t creating something new. This idea of balance in one’s life has been around since the beginning of time. Too often, we even lose this idea of balance in the various thoughts and beliefs that get floated around. Even religion went overboard. Religion became about doctrine and dogma. We were told that if we believed certain things that we would be “saved” or “blessed”. We were also told that if we did certain things we would find ourselves on God’s “naughty” list and bad deeds would not go unpunished by God. Only recently has there been an increasing amount of positive discussion connecting science and religion, which is a good start.
I would like to think that I am correct all of the time – that I know the truth and that is that. However, to let one’s prejudice override others’ thoughts becomes only a losing proposition for all. It is okay to “preach to the choir”, that is to say those who agree or accept my views. But it is best when I also listen to what is being told to me. If my mind is made up before we begin then there is no use in beginning. My hope for this New Year is that we can spend more time listening. I mean really listening even before we start to think of a response.