When did you first become aware that living fully is the most important thing you could do?
Sometimes we only realize that we have not been living fully when we encounter a tragedy, such as the death of a loved one. Then we wake up and realize, “what have I been doing with my life?” Well. What have you been doing with it?
While living fully is clearly more than words, it does start with the mind, being aware of life, using the mind to discern what has the most meaning, and to evaluate what barriers are in the way. Not that the mind knows all that much about living fully. The mind is a tool for living fully, not where living fully happens.
Let’s start with awareness. Awareness, or mindfulness, is the first requirement of living fully. Awareness is an observer function that shows us, by our thoughts, choices, decisions, longings, repetitions and feelings what is important. And this observer function also gives us the information we need to make the choice to change those thoughts, longings, repetitions, etc.
Awareness, of course, is more than observing thoughts. It is also awareness of one’s body, one’s connections and one’s weaknesses. It takes quite a bit of commitment to awareness to get to the point of non-judgmental awareness that is consistently operating.
Awareness will also bring to mind those values that enhance our lives. Particularly I like to return to the values of Love, Understanding and Gratitude. I try to do all I can to incorporate those and be motivated solely by those enlightened qualities. But there is more. It’s Enlightened Action. Awareness sees that we can’t live fully without taking action that leads us in the life-enhancing direction.
These four qualities of Gratitude, Love, Understanding and Enlightened action make for a nice couple of anagrams. The first is GLUE, because these attributes hold us together as a human community. GLUE supports the best in all of us. And although GLUE is perceived as sticky, we can’t stop there. These four attributes are not just gluey. They also move us forward; they move us forward to our home (the Future where Gratitude, Love and Understanding are in such abundance that they aren’t attributes as much as they are who we are). These four qualities of a full life unstick us from the past, and unbind us from our present attachments. They set us free. It’s almost as if they were super slick grease or ice on a slope toward our home; they are a metaphorical LUGE ride.
The LUGE is our ticket home, really fast. (A six-minute YouTube Video I made on Riding the LUGE.)
What we often choose instead of the LUGE is the SAFARI. A LUGE rider has no thoughts of or delights in going on SAFARI because the SAFARI is the trip that is nothing more than Self Absorption, Fear, Anger and Repeated Injuries. We may say the SAFARI (our life) was great or we may layer it with trappings of accumulation, prestige and accomplishment, but it is still a SAFARI: Self Absorption, Fear, Anger and Repeated Injuries.
Living fully isn’t fast. It’s full. It isn’t glamorous. It’s glorious. It isn’t saving the world. The world is already saved. It isn’t even right or good. It’s who we are, living into what we came to do: spreading GLUE on our community for the trip down the LUGE of life.