Sunday, July 6, 2014

Measure Up

Here I am in Summerland with a couple of friends.  As soon as Santa Barbara County gets an AlterG I am moving there to start an inspirational tee shirt and tattoo business.  I will call it Ani TNT.  Actually, now that I write that it sounds like a monster truck mashing festival.  Do they still have those?  Remember that guy's voice?  It's kind of fun to say it like him.  Monster truck mashers.

What in the world is the purpose of mashing big trucks with even bigger trucks?  Which brings me to my main point.  And something I have been pondering the last few weeks, months, decades, lifetimes.  What does it mean to be human and how can we fulfill our purpose?  Surely it doesn't have anything to do with monster truck mashing.

What is the measure of our days and thus our lives?  When we get in bed at night and reflect on the day, how do we feel?

When I was about 10 years old, I remember feeling so jealous of animals who seemed to know how to be themselves without any confusion.  Especially I was fond of the lioness, who on black and white public television, looked so comfortable in her skin.  In contrast, it seemed a bit complex to be a human. What is it we are supposed to be doing?

As I've gotten stronger and more capable this past year, I find myself easily caught up in the sense of confidence that comes from accomplishing things.  Oh wow! I unloaded the dishwasher AND took a shower AND grocery shopped AND did PT all in one day.  Hooray.  Which is true when one is healing and yet I feel how that kind of success can be strangely addictive, a confidence built on how many tasks and errands and projects that as a human being I did in one day.

Some small version of monster truck mashing, isn't it?

What then is a meaningful way to measure the day?  Taking a cue from Buddha, I realize that when I look back at the day, or when I set my intention in the morning, the best measure of being a complete human being is:

1. How often was I in the present moment?

2.  How many other sentient beings did I help, either directly or indirectly?

Ta da! This is how a human gets comfortable in her own skin.  How often was my mind united with my body in whatever I was doing or not doing in the moment?  That is something to ask ourselves.  Because what else do we have except a continuum of present moments.  The mind easily flits away to the past, the future, the other side of the world.

What if we began to try on purpose to measure our days by how often we were paying attention to the present moment without thinking, analyzing, strategizing, judging, planning, obsessing.  Just being in our bodies and aware.  Hmmm.

And then add to that, how many beings did I help?

Maybe it's just me but I feel a little excited about this paradigm.  How often was I in the present moment and how many other beings did I help today?  It's fun right?  It lets you off the hook for accomplishing all the things on your to do list.  They become fluff - which they actually are.

Because after 14 billion years of evolution, surely we can come up with something better than errands, paying the bills, organizing the house, and mashing trucks.  Not that those things aren't necessary, but let's not define ourselves with that.  Let's not feel successful because we got the most done.

Let's pat each other on the back for just being and helping.  That's enough.  And it's a lot.

See you in Summerland!

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