You spend a lot of time managing the your time, your money and your possessions. The roads are bad, so you’d better leave early for work or you’ll get in trouble, you need to get on line and transfer the money for those bills due today, and you have to call to make that appointment to get your car in for service. Fair enough. Modern life has many aspects that need managing. But how much time do you spend on your happiness? How much time to you dedicate to managing that?
A lot of people will tick off the box for I have a spiritual life because they do things like argue against positive social media postings about specific religions, or maybe they’re more open minded, but they still won’t know much more than what they don’t believe. They’ll post philosophical quotes that have meaning to their ego-life during a time of crisis or recovery, but very few people continue to seek answers when they’re not in a state of despair. The idea isn’t that we whip out enlightenment when we need it. It must be a way of life. A way of more profoundly enjoying good times as well as a form of solace for when we’re traversing difficult terrain.
Strangely enough, good spiritual practice looks a lot like an optimist who’s objective is to wring as much enjoyment out of each day as possible. Like some painter on a giant canvass of life, we all crawl through our lives, painting whatever feelings we’re having at the time. And while many people paint ugly worries or regrets about how poorly they think they’re finished painting will be, a healthy person simply focuses on the brush stroke they’re on. And sure enough, if enough of those individual strokes are made with love and appreciation, it turns out that also results in the most beautiful paintings. But those are for the guests at your funeral. It’s the act of painting that is your life, so make sure you’re choosing paints you like the colours of, and use brushes that are comfortable, and then follow your heart because why one Earth would you ever assume that it wouldn’t be a good idea to do so?
It is the nature of painting that we should all hit times where we are given pause, and at those times we may look back and be startled to see how much ground we’ve covered and how much our painting has developed. And inspired by that progress, we’re often ready again to put our heads into the present moment and continue to create an enjoyable life one brush stroke at a time. Because what counts isn’t the noun-painting, it’s the verb-painting.
Stop worrying about what other people think of your art. It’s a waste of time because they’re doing exactly the same thing you’re doing. They’re worried about what you think of their painting. That’s what egos do. They compare. Your spirit though… your spirit just wants to paint because it knows there is no going wrong because there is no judge of canvasses. There is only the paint, the canvass, you, and the opportunity to create a life. Don’t waste it painting ugly strokes. The choice is always yours. Avoid want. Paint with appreciation and you are guaranteed a beautiful result.
Now go make your life into a work of art. There’s nothing stopping you. 😉
Following a childhood accident should have left him dead, Scott McPherson spent his life meditating on thought, consciousness, reality and the self. Seeing the emotional damage done by ego-based overthinking he began dedicating a part of his life to guiding students toward more peaceful and rewarding lives. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, Canada.