Lessons for Living       
Lesson Fifteen: "On Waking Up"


"Such Awakening moments can be   ordinary."




Welcome to Lessons for Living.

This weeks lesson is on, "Waking up."

Life is full of lessons. Each day tries to teach us. Each day offers "awakening moments" of clarity in which new insight into life can be gained. To be useful we must perceive the awakening moment and grasp its meaning. Once understood it brings a new awareness. New possibilities are opened. Changes in patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior can occur. Such an awakening allows the possibility of growth to new levels of psychological and spiritual maturity.

Awakening moments can be ordinary. They can be as ordinary as a rainy day. I have a photograph of an awakening moment. It was taken on a day that started sunny but soon turned to rain. During a bus ride from Salisbury, England to Stonehenge there was a downpour. I grumbled to myself and to my wife about how the rain would ruin this long awaited trip. Later walking around Stonehenge in the cold, wet mist, I was still disappointed with the day. Suddenly, the rain stopped. For a few glorious moments the sun broke through the clouds and a rainbow appeared. My photograph of a rainbow over Stonehenge was an awakening moment.

That rainy day and, especially, that moment became the highlight of my two-week trip to England. It also opened me to a new attitude. Without the rain I would not have found that rainbow. Grumbling about present reality does not help. It only distracts you from what is happening. You must be open to every moment. You never know what it will bring.

Opening to the moment is difficult. To be open you must be willing to change. You must be willing to let go of where you are. We develop patterns of routine that we will not easily give up. We become comfortable, and it feels risky to change. It is easier staying the same.

Comfort that becomes a routine can become a rut. If you stay comfortable long enough, you become stuck. When a rut is deep enough then it becomes a grave, and you are covered over with the inertia of inaction.

To have a meaningful life you must mindfully look for ways to change even in presence of comfort. The paradox is that learning to challenge your comfort zone may help keep you comfortable because life does not get boring. Always being open to change even in the midst of comfort gives life vitality. Learn to actively seek opportunities to grow. For a meaningful life the willing and daily challenging of comfort is required.

Where are you today? Are you comfortable? Are you too comfortable? Are you ready to make a change? What is life teaching you today? Can you hear the message? Will you see the awakening moments today?

An Awakening Moment: Stonehenge with Rainbow

2000 Daniel H. Johnston. All Rights Reserved.

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