A friend just asked what the most important thing in life is. What one thing. This is what I answered. Iâ€™d love to hear your answer too.
My life has been populated with what at the time I perceived as a disproportionate share of ugly and disgusting people and events. A decade of paralysis, multiple broken bones, dysfunctional partners, illness, death, freakish occurrences Hollywood couldnâ€™t script if it tried. Iâ€™ve risen above it all by sheer acts of will, meditation, letting go, and deep gratitude for what I have. Until I got serious about meditation though, it was a hard lifeâ€Šâ€”â€Švery hard.
But I have risen. Not always gracefully. Mostly in haphazard fashion. For many years, just rising above was my most important thing. But once my life leveled out, I began looking again for what was Most Important.
Some who answered this question said Love and Being in the Now were the Most Important for them. Love is easy when the Beloved is still physically beautiful, the sun is shining and everybody is healthy. The Now is all well and good when everything is happy and shiny and you still have your health.
But then things go pear-shaped, the wrinkles start to appear, the Beloved gets fat, youâ€™re coping with pain or relationship dysfunction, and health goes to accident or disease. Or the Beloved exhibits opinions and ideals that make you wonder what you ever saw in them to begin with. It becomes hard to continue loving and stay in the Now if you are only attracted to the superficial veneers of life, or when pain gets in the way. Just fighting for survival is tough enough then, without any high falutinâ€™ meditations or life goals. This is when depression and general upset can set in.
In pain, dysfunction and hard times are where we find our greatest challenges and distractions from what is Most Important. They are also lifeâ€™s greatest Teachers.
What turns beauty to ugliness and disgust when the veneer ages and health fades, are the pre-existing filters driving our own choice, prejudice and perception. And what creates those filters are layers of illusion that we have bought into over time. That society gave us from birth, that our parents, teachers, friends and culture say are what we must believe and endorse. And that, knowing no better, we invested in from an early age.
But these filters of illusion are largely false.
Given this, what has taken main stage as Most Important in my life has been doing whatever I can to peel away those layers of illusion to know my True Selfâ€Šâ€”â€Šwhat remains when the illusion is stripped completely away. Until I have done that, I cannot rationally expect myself to have any other primary agenda.
This is the filter through which all else of my life arises. I want to experience life and my relationships with others as filter-free. This will enable me to give particularly intimate relationships and partners, the fair chance I have not always been able to in the past. Currently Iâ€™m able to experience life as my True Self about half the time when I meditate deeply and concentrate on it. Sometimes I get triggered. Sometimes my body has an itch or twinge, and I find concentration difficult. Sometimes a stray wind or shaft of sunlight reminds me of another time, and there I am off galloping into the past in memory and emotions I havenâ€™t felt in years, but resurrect in a twinkling.
Still more to do. Always, I return to my breath. To breathing. To being breathed by Source.
When I am closest to my True Self, I am close to what Wayne Dyer described as â€œthe mind of Sourceâ€, and all life flows to and through me with ease, grace and joy. When I am outside of that mind, life ratchets, hiccups and spews discontent.
I have come to value and choose the feeling and presence in my life of peace, of grace, and a grateful heart. That brings me joy.
And I think one of the most important things in life is to embody Source as Joy not only for myself but for everyone else, too. And particularly at this time of year in the words of the old wassail song: â€œeach other in love to greetâ€â€¦
â€œDrive The Cold Winter Awayâ€ English wassail song, c. 1625
This time of the year is spent in good cheer,
And neighbours together do meet
To sit by the fire, with friendly desire,
Each other in love to greet;
Old grudges forgot are put in the pot,
All sorrows aside they lay;
The old and the young doth carol this song
To drive the cold winter awayâ€¦
I bid you Peace in this season of Good Will, and would love to read your answer to this question. What is your Most Important thing, and why do you choose that?