Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Keeping The Water Flowing

Today's reading from the Tao is very timely for me at this time of my life.

A moving door hinge never corrodes.
Flowing water never grows stagnant.

In the commentary we read that even in the autumn of your life, a time of life in which I find myself in the eternal Now, you cannot give up growth. If you do, you only invite decline. All the different aspects of a person...body, mind, and spirit...have one curious quality: If they cease to be exercised, they stop growing. Once they stop growing, they begin to atrophy. That is why, no matter how much you have accomplished and no matter how old you are, you must keep exercising all parts of yourself. The way of challenging oneself is also a valid but difficult path. Sometimes Tao chooses the difficult over the easy.

I am at a time in my life where I often feel tired. It is more than a physical fatigue. It might be called a fatigue of the spirit. As my wife likes to say, "I'm tired and I'm tired of it". It is not a fatigue based in negativity. It's the fatigue one accumulates when one has been "long on the journey". It might also be called the fatigue of faithfulness. I am getting very close to being 60 years old. I have been working for 40+ years. I've been married for 35+ years. I have been a parent for 30+ years. I have been faithful to all my commitments. When the alarm clock goes off each morning I get out of the bed and I do all the things I am supposed to do. If I say I will do something, I do it. If I say I will be somewhere, I will be there. I am as dependable as the rising and setting of the sun. On a good day, I am faithful. On an average day, I am on auto-pilot. On a bad day I am resentful of the expectations and demands made of me. The fuel that energizes me is a never ending desire and striving to sharpen my mind and renew my spirit. Admittedly, I haven't given enough time to renew and energize my body. I am sometimes physically lazy but I try to not be intellectually lazy. I try to be informed and educated through reading and dialogue. Although I have strayed a bit from organized religion, my trips to the monastery are not to document what kind of gas mileage I get on my car. The silence of that holy place feeds my spirit. I don't push myself as hard as some do, but I do try to have the mentality that life is a never ending opportunity to learn, to grow, and to become something new. I never want to retire just so I can sit in my chair all day and look out the window. Admittedly, a little time for such daydreaming would be nice. Until my last breath, I want to live as fully as I can. It doesn't come easy. The law of physics is correct when it says a body in motion tends to stay in motion and a body at rest tends to stay at rest. I fight the urge to give in to rest. I hope my body, mind, and spirit are always in motion and moving forward so the hinges of my being do not corrode and the waters of my life do not become stagnant.

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