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Quality not quantity |


Quality not quantity

More and more, as the world moves faster, we find ourselves doing a great number of things with the ambiguous goal of "making our life better." So we work like there is no tomorrow, navigating our way in the world ruled by Mammon: Lifestyles laid out in the media that fuels desire for the next best vacation spot, the trim and flabless body, the new set of wheels, the posh real estate investment and off we go... charging too much on our credit cards. We are caught in the circle of a life... the kind defined by the ego, which requires financial security and achievements to align with the goal of "making our life better."

The rushing about in a day that is becoming exceedingly shorter makes all of us master timekeepers, juggling in activities that strengthen the direction of "making our life better." Sometimes, the great variety of activities we rush around for makes us circle round and round, keeping that same level until we crawl home, exhausted at the end of the day. We turn the television on and we’re plunged into the ongoing drama of the "war on terror," natural disasters and man’s seeming thoughtless and selfish actions unfold in epic images of suffering and horror that also, somehow, exert hypnotic fascination. Suddenly, life seems so short and threatening... and the fears arise. We must do what I want now. Now! As though tomorrow is too murky to plan for. Can we be happy now, this very moment, even if we don’t get what we want? And we question: Is this all there is? Why have we lost the enchantment of life?

Have we ever really stopped ourselves to begin to make concrete choices in what we do? Will you die if you don’t catch the latest film everyone, and I mean everyone, is talking about? Will it bother you so much if you weren’t seen in that club or group? Will it be so pathetically unfashionable if you don’t possess the latest hanging on that store mannequin?

Is it so bad really that you don’t have a partner?

These questions never arise until we stop and reflect... stop in awareness and look at life in a different level. "Up" your awareness of life. Bring back the enchantment, which is tantamount to actually seeing what is special in all the things you do every day. Here is a practical step by step plan I use to ground myself in my center:

Stop. It’s the first step in all contemplative practices: Don’t just do something, sit there. Turn off the television. Put away the newspapers. Log off the Internet. Tear yourself away from the addictive fascination of the drama. Do whatever practice grounds you in your heart and your body.

Feel. Check the quality of your heart and emotions. Check to see if you are allowing the dramas of your life to hold control of your emotions. Watch and stay with it while trying not to feel threatened with the intensity. Remember, this, too, shall pass. Try to align yourself with thoughts or feelings that give you life and strength.

Look deeply. Look deeply at what is happening inside you and around you in your life.

Begin the process of transformation. Bring in the thought awareness of good. It is just really a small shift required in the mind, but it is a shift. Is there something good that you are adding in your life today? Are you helping others grow?

It would be good in the sense that it is life-enhancing, balancing, harmonizing either for yourself or for the relationships you build around you. Choosing good is also about choosing the higher, more expansive actions, thoughts and emotions. The willingness to live an enchanted life means to "up" the volume of your life – to raise the awareness to see, hear, feel and know the experience of quality, and not just the quantity of things you do.

How do we focus on quality? I believe it all begins from understanding that all actions begin in the mind... and that all we are about is the result of our thoughts. Which is why it is so important to shift to the mindset of "think good." This shift is a genuine spiritual act, a rare privilege of human freedom, a choice. It is the act of being conscious. By focusing on thinking good, we reformat our thought patterns towards quality. Which in turn will affect our actions. What follows is that we will begin to act for good. I choose to eat vegetables instead of pork to practice non-violence, but also because vegetables are better for my body. I choose to understand the other with patience instead of barking back in anger. I choose to work out my disappointments inside rather than throw a tantrum to control the people around me. I choose to recycle correctly because there is so much waste that pollutes the earth today. I choose to have a little less of the luxuries and vanities of life so that I would have something to share with charitable groups and the less fortunate.

Thoughts and actions reformat the unseen energies that create our lives and our world’s state. The changes that will happen are not just a change in the given situation, but an uplevel, allowing us to actively experience enchantment and the magic of transformation. From that new level of thinking good, a subtle shift again and we reach a higher, and deeper level of Compassionate Loving. And suddenly, we will have understood quality.

(Postscript thought: Mother Teresa of Calcutta once stated, "It is not how much good things you do on earth, but how much love you put into them.")

(E-mail the writer at

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