Secret O’Life

While driving to vote this morning I heard a James Taylor song that I have only heard once before. Entitled “Secret O’Life”, Taylor suggests that the secret of life is “enjoying the passage of time.” A simple idea, to be sure, but one that eludes many people in their frenetic quest for happiness and satisfaction.

Most people, whether they admit to it or not, think a great deal about life. In our modern era (and perhaps in earlier times) one strategy for dealing with life is to fill one’s days to overflowing with stimulating experiences. Others take the approach of amassing material possessions in an effort to generate a lasting sense of happiness. Both approaches operate on the same fundamental assumption: that happiness can be extracted from an external experience.

I am of the opinion that life is meant to be enjoyed, not just by a select few, but by all. A common myth in the current American psyche is that if you do what you love, then you will be happy; the implication being that you won’t be happy if your aren’t doing what you love. I’d like to turn that notion around a bit.

Rather than searching for what you love to do, learn to love to handle what is under your nose right now! The day before yesterday we considered the matter of judgment and if there is any area of human function that is in need of liberation from the confines of judgment it is this. People, generally speaking, are in the habit of judging and pre-judging what they like and don’t like to do to that point that very little room is left to savor the uniqueness of the present moment.

Every circumstance you face in life, every job you hold, every relationship you form has within it the seeds of hope, joy and growth, yet proper nourishment is required for those seeds to germinate. If you are convinced that doing the dishes or balancing your checkbook, for instance, will be a horrible experience, it will be every time. If you say to yourself, “I’ve seen the factors lining up like this before. It’s going to be awful,” then it probably will be.

Not only do people see what they look for, they contribute their life force to that which they expect to happen. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that intention will always produce a desired outcome, but I am convinced that overlaying a future experience with negative bias will tend to emphasize those seeds, rather than encouraging a more desirable harvest.

Allow yourself to love what you do, no matter what you are doing. Even if the only thing you can love about a situation is the fact that you are on hand to provide an uplifting outlook where no others can, you can still channel your love through that narrow aperture. Don’t resort to judgment, for judgment taints the soil you plant in at that moment and puts the quality of some future harvest at risk.

James Taylor was on to something, as musicians so often are, in his refrain “The secret o’life is enjoying the passage of time.” Now that the cat is out of the bag, the question you must answer is whether or not you’re willing to let go of judgment and let go to an uncommon experience of life?

5 thoughts on “Secret O’Life

  1. Foxglove

    Makes me think that the more unresolved conficts we have in our minds, the more we superimpose our own feelings on the present which certainly causes a distortion on what’s really there. Reminds me of a saying my culture has when someone overreacts to something, “wow, don’t put so much color on it!”
    Good stuff here.

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  2. happytobehere

    I used to think it was weak not to have strong opinions on various issues. Now I love saying to myself, let’s wait and see. We can’t determine exactly what the future will bring but we can spoil it without ever being aware we did; rather like making a choice but never being aware there was one.
    I think judgment can narrow our life opportunities and our blessings. I like to feel I’m always leaving room for the miracles.Thanks for the post.

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  3. Colin

    This is a viewpoint that is seldom heard, but that needs to be shouted from the rooftops! But this isn’t some kind of “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade” pollyanna platitude. Who’s to say what’s a lemon and what isn’t? You can look at a lemon (the fruit) and say: “This is a lemon. It’s oblong, yellow, and it tastes sour”. But with a situation, there are so many complexities that unless you can see the future, you are asking for trouble if you say “This is a lemon of a situation”. If you do that, I guarantee you will miss an opportunity that you will never even know existed.
    So where does that leave us? The answer is as you said. Don’t judge it. Use your energy to see where you can keep an even keel and help the situation, and you will lead a much more fulfilled life then if you go around saying “I know this will suck, I will just be miserable from the get-go.” You can’t expect to be happy if your happiness depends on what is happening around you. Create happiness by forgetting about yourself for awhile. If you look to see how you can make other’s happy, and don’t worry about how they react to the new you, you will find yourself living in a whole new world.

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