Thursday, August 02, 2007

Wildflowers and Balance

I am currently reading a book entitled Spirituality for Everyday Living by Brian Taylor. It is a reflection on the Rule of St Benedict. Benedict was a sixth century man who wrote a rule that was used as a guideline for life in a monastery. This rule is still followed today all over the world with some adaptation for modern man. The chapter of the book that I have recently read is about living a balanced life. The value of the rule, beyond its historical significance, is that is it a primer for how to live a balanced life. Living a balanced life means to give equal time to your spirit, your mind, and your body. Monks do this through prayer, study, and work. We can do the same in our own particular circumstances. Balancing our time to give something to all of these areas of our lives is collectively living a wholistic life. If any area is ignored or not given what it needs, our lives are out of balance and one way or another we will feel it. One or more of these areas may be lacking in your current life. If your life is fast paced and busy, spend some time in quiet and solitude. If your work is all mental and leaving you brain dead at times, do some gardening or other manual labor. If your work is mostly physical, spend some time reading a book. Each of us must make the adjustments necessary to give each area of our lives what it needs.

I don't really have a best friend. It's too difficult to choose only one. I have many friends. They are like wildflowers in my life. They are scattered all over the place. Some are far away and I rarely see them. Others are close at hand and often part of my day to day life. Collectively and individually they are all beautiful and bring much joy into my life. Each has their own uniqueness and fragrance. Like wildflowers they have much diversity. I would never be happy with just one kind of friend. I like all the colors and shapes and fragrances mixed up together, just like the wildflowers that grow in the fields.

Last night I watch a film entitled Bobby. It was a fictionalized account of the events in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on the day Robert Kennedy was shot and killed. It was June of 1968. I was seventeen years old. Approximately six weeks earlier Martin Luther King, Jr had also been shot and killed. It was a time of great unrest and also of great hope. Robert Kennedy was a visionary man and the hope of many who felt disenfranchised in our society. If you go to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. you will easily find the grave of Robert Kennedy's brother, John F. Kennedy who was killed five years before Bobby. John's grave is impressive and there still burns an eternal flame that was lit in 1963 on the day of his burial. Nearby, without any indication of who lies below, is a small white cross where Robert Kennedy is buried. I was able to visit these graves once. It was an emotional experience for me to be there since their lives and deaths are also part of my personal history.

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