by Dawn King    Much as things may seem to be unchanging when we want them to change in some way (an illness, our paycheck, a government), Life is Change. We need to appreciate those things we count on each day. Take time to think about what those things are and be grateful for them. They may be gone tomorrow!

I’m stopping now to acknowledge those anchors in my life: my husband, my spiritual community, the wonderful area in which I live. No matter how much I may think of myself as a “loaner”, each of us needs our community, our “tribe,” because the  tribal survival instinct is built into our DNA. If you haven’t done so already, find your tribe! Any group will do if it gathers due to a common interest that you enjoy pursuing. But it should be a physical face-to-face gathering to truly meet your need for tribe; i.e. not one on social media or Zoom.

We’re living in a time of amazingly rapid changes in technology and consciousness. As someone with many decades to reflect upon, I’ve experienced a much simpler life (the 60s and earlier), moving at a much slower pace. It was wonderful! We could actually digest the experiences of each day, instead of reeling from the dizzying barrage of stimulus that assaults us from every direction today.

How can we find our center in this busy world today? In perfect harmony with Paramahansa Yogananda and Sunburst’s teachings, Omar Itani reminds us of the ancient Japanese Wabi-Sabi philosophy:

     Wabi is about recognizing beauty in humble simplicity. It invites us to open our heart and detach from the vanity of materialism so we can experience spiritual richness instead. Sabi is concerned with the passage of time, the way all things grow, age, and decay, and how it manifests itself beautifully in objects. It suggests that beauty is hidden beneath the surface of what we actually see, even in what we initially perceive as broken. Together, these two concepts create an overarching philosophy for approaching life: Accept what is, stay in the present moment, and appreciate the simple, transient stages of life.

     Strive not for perfection, but for excellence instead. In other words, simply do your best to be the best that you can be.

All things in life, including you, are in an imperfect state of flux. Change is the only constant. Everything is transient and nothing is ever complete. And that’s why perfection doesn’t exist.

     Slow down and simplify your life. Otherwise, you’ll rush through it, arrive at the end and wonder, ‘What was the point?’ Slowing down is what helps you become a more observant person. Which then helps you become more self-aware.…Immerse yourself into the fabric of this universe and appreciate it for what it is: The joy of watering your flowers in the morning, the joy of watching a sunset, etc.

     So what’s the problem with chasing success? First, it will always evade you. And second, it’s virtually impossible to be happy all the time. The root of all unhappiness is born from being discontent with where you are and what you have. It really is as simple as that. To be content with what you have and where you are is to be grateful. To be content with what you have and where you are, while working toward what you want, and fully trusting that you can achieve it, is to be intentional. And through gratitude, intention, and action, you find happiness.

     But at its core, wabi-sabi reminds you that life is fragile and temporary, it is as impermanent as anything else in nature, so why not give yourself permission to be just that, yourself?

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