Thursday, 19 September 2013

Assembly, Week 3

What is important to you?

A simple question, but a whole host of complex answers lie under it! 

Health, wealth & happiness? Or 'just' loads of money? What about a good job, nice family, time to enjoy things? 

Or getting down to more mundane things, what about your mobile phone? or your xbox?

I hope you would all say that someone close to you is important to you? Your mum or dad, maybe? Or a brother / sister? (Even though you may fight like mad!). Or maybe you've got a pet that is important to you?

Or power? Do you want to have a high powered job, where people respect you for what you do? Or maybe you don't want the power and what you want is to do something to 'make a difference'. Maybe work in a charity, helping other people who have nothing?

What about knowledge? Do you want to know as much as you can about something? Become a world expert in something? 

But will any of it make you happy? 

Think carefully about what makes you happy and what is important to you. The answers to both of these fall into two distinct categories:

There are the things that you maybe haven't got & long for. Maybe it's the latest xbox, or the next iPhone? Or maybe it's something else you are longing for? 'Acceptance', or to be liked? Or to have the 'perfect' girlfriend / boyfriend? There is a huge danger here. Seriously, it's really, really seriously dangerous. If this is the trap that you have fallen into, then you are at serious risk of never really being happy.

You are using the lack of something in your life to explain why you do not feel contented and happy now. But what will you feel when you do obtain your goal? Will you be any different? Will you really be happy, or will you just substitute your 'missing link' to happiness with the next thing you want? It is easy to fall into this trap; I'll be happy when I get a girlfriend/boyfriend. I'll be happy when I get that job. I'll be happy when . . . 

But this means that you see life like a journey, with a final destination. At the final destination, you will be happy, because you will have reached your idea of perfection. This means that you are not interested in the journey, but on the end result. This has been written about in so many different ways and, in fact, is a thread through a lot of major hollywood movies! I want to read out to you one piece of writing that explains the danger of being 'destination' focussed. It's called:


By Robert J. Hastings

         TUCKED AWAY in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision in which we see ourselves

on a long journey that spans an entire continent. We're traveling by train and, from the 

windows, we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at

crossings, of cattle grazing in distant pastures, of smoke pouring from power plants, of row

upon row upon row of cotton and corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of city skylines and

village halls.

    But uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination--for at a certain hour and on a

given day, our train will finally pull into the station with bells ringing, flags waving, and bands

playing. And once that day comes, so many wonderful dreams will come true. So restlessly, we

pace the aisles and count the miles, peering ahead, waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

    "Yes, when we reach the station, that will be it!" we promise ourselves. "When we're 

eighteen. . . win that promotion. . . put the last kid through college. . . buy that 450SL 

Mercedes-Benz. . . have a nest egg for retirement!"

    From that day on we will all live happily ever after.

    Sooner or later, however, we must realize there is no station in this life, no one earthly

place to arrive at once and for all. The journey is the joy. The station is an illusion--it

constantly outdistances us. Yesterday's a memory, tomorrow's a dream. Yesterday belongs to a

history, tomorrow belongs to God. Yesterday's a fading sunset, tomorrow's a faint sunrise. Only

today is there light enough to love and live.

    So, gently close the door on yesterday and throw the key away. It isn't the burdens of today 

that drive men mad, but rather regret over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and

fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.

    "Relish the moment" is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24, "This is

the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

     So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, swim more rivers, climb more

mountains, kiss more babies, count more stars. Laugh more and cry less. Go barefoot oftener.

Eat more ice cream. Ride more merry-go-rounds. Watch more sunsets. Life must be lived as we

go along. The station will come soon enough.

So, rather than focussing on the destination, look to the journey! Enjoy the scenery, to follow through the metaphor from that piece of prose. What makes you happy now? What makes you alive now. Right here, right now? 

Learn to live in the now, enjoy the moment and seek happiness in what you are doing, here and now. 

If you do, then you are being aesthetic. Aesthetic means to be fully alive, with all your senses working at their best, when you are fully present in the moment and resonating with what you are doing at that moment of time. 

The opposite of this is to be anaesthetic. when you are deadening yourself to what is around you. When you go to the dentist or into hospital, they give you an anaesthetic, to deaden you, so that you don't feel what they are doing to you!

Well, you can also give yourself anaesthetic, when you switch off from the now and when you deaden yourself to the experiences happening around you.

Some people think it's not cool to be eager and keen to do things, but those people have anaesthetised themselves, have deadened themselves, to protect themselves from something. 

Go on, risk it - get excited about what you are doing. Live in the moment, seek happiness in the right things and don't put all your hopes in some golden future! 

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