“Seek Ye First the Kingdom” as a Life Adventure
I stumbled upon writer’s block last week.
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." - Matthew 6:33
I stumbled upon writer’s block last week. There simply were too many ideas to write about. It was not possible to decide where to begin.
The ideas are all still there. Some of which are contained in two separate articles. Mostly, still floating in mid-air. I thought maybe I should sketch a case conceptualization map? Nah. That would be time consuming and would take away the limited amount of time I have for at least being able to write one article a week.
Among the ideas, this article will try to address the question “Does being successful equate to being happy? Can one be a failure yet be happy?”http://hubpages.com/question/150111/does-being-successful-equate-to-being-happy--can-one-be-a-failure-yet-be-happy
Living in a Mystical, Magical Way
Someone once said that to live in a mystical, magical way, one has to be attentive to the ordinary and not-so-ordinary details that catch ones attention.
Looking back to the week’s events, two incidents came to mind.
One, a co-worker pointing out, using “straight-fact” figures that a task should not be assigned to the other department.
Two, a friend insisting on riding a west-bound bus instead of the east-bound bus I had suggested.
On both cases, I had initially been sure that my original preference was the correct direction (although I had been open to the other’s ideas), but I somehow faltered because of the other person’s convincing manner of delivering their position.
Living Amidst Confusing Times
So which position was the correct one then? On the second instance, we took the east-bound bus and got to our destination; east-bound was the correct route. On the first instance, after a couple of emails going back and forth, it now appears, figures or no figures, that the other department should actually be handling the activity.
So which is the choice then? Success or happiness?
In an age and time, where we’re always in a hurry to get to the bottom line, let me venture out a shortcut answer: We may use happiness to measure real success.
Material Wealth and Worldly “Success”
I believe I have written previous articles about material wealth and worldly success:
· Material/Tangible Possessions: cars, houses, furniture, money
· Degrees/Accomplishments: university degree, championship title, other achievement awards, career
· Relationships: With family, friends, business colleagues, pets
· Skills, Expertise and Hobbies
An article also mentions that we, myself included, normally measure our success based on whether we have these or not and prefer to have it all.
Each upset can be measured by loss of any of the above items and happiness, by gain. And that no one is exempt from either loss or gain, and that it is only in accepting then letting go while experiencing loss (The Tao of Grieving) that we can be spared from the pain.
There, we seem to have found our shortcut formula for happiness in acceptance, which we also explored in Soul Work and Magic: Living the Wizard’s Way.
By living a rich inner life that provides for an additional, mystical layer of meaning or reality on top of our tangible experience, we overcome the pain and trials that the physical world imposes upon us.
“Seek Ye First the Kingdom” as a Life Adventure
Contrary to the context of the previous paragraphs, it would be exciting to list the things one in one’s heart truly wishes to accomplish in life and pursue the activities that will contribute to their fulfillment.
What would be good to understand is that the pursuit of worldly success can be used to build a lasting relationship with God, since the activities in the said pursuit are most likely to meet with external setbacks that can be considered as challenges in developing faith, hope and love (1 Cor 3:13).
The promise is that once that rich inner life through a strong personal relationship with God has been developed, everything seems to happen with effortless ease and by magic: … and all these things shall be added unto you. (Mat 6:33)
Between God and Me: Using Our Internal Compass to Find Lasting Happiness
Much has been said about our emotions as being capable of guiding us to the right direction since they represent God’s immediate feedback to us. On our pursuit of worldly success, it would be important to monitor how we are feeling performing the task at hand. Is there a positive or negative energy in the feeling? What is my heart telling me about the situation? What happened or was said or done recently that might be causing the energy, and why? Which direction is it now pointing me to?
When we were children we did not have the capability to process our emotions this way. But now, if we commit ourselves to the practice of mindful awareness, which is simply acknowledging without judgment each emotion as it arises, we will be ushered into a more conscious way of living life, which will result in our getting to trust our emotions more and more.
Trusting one’s emotions comes with the power and ability to navigate through confusing times. When external circumstances seem so convincing, you will know if otherwise. When someone claims to be telling the truth and validates it with figures, you will know if otherwise.
When someone, including yourself (ego-based self), tells you you’re a failure, you’ll know otherwise. Deep within, all we truly are is joy, peace and love.
Who knows which one comes first? Trusting in God or trusting in one’s emotions? Whichever it is, our emotions are our internal compass, lettings us know whether or not we are aligned with our true north, which is God’s will for us.
All Magic Great and Small
In “The Lord's Prayer: A Contemplation”, I have mentioned contemplating with love, gratitude and awe of God for the wonderful things He made happen in my life, despite their seeming impossibility.
To add a few more:
· Opening a book (“Being Happy”) to the exact page of the quote (“You have your brush and colours. You paint paradise, then in you go.”) I was looking for.
· Not finding a topic under the book table of contents nor index, only to come back from break time with the book opened to the exact topic.
· Having the street lamp flicker on as I was about to walk by
· Having the escalator door bounce open, without pushing a button, to let me catch the lift
· Having the security door click, without swiping my magnetic badge
· Having the cash machine accept my password, without having pressed the last digit yet
· Having the airport baggage conveyor belt malfunction, for me to catch my flight
· Getting a seat in a crowded bus/train
· Getting a slot in a crowded parking area
Although I don’t get to experience all these amazing things on a daily basis, I still try daily to remain alert just in case another one happens by.
I bet your own list would simply go on and on and on.
And as long as we are aligned with God’s will, everything happens with effortless ease, flowing along as if by magic.