Tuesday, 12 March 2013

3 Ways to take a hold of your life

by Randy Tudy
I arrived very early on a conference I attended.  Before the conference formally started, flashed on the screen was this phrase “Take a stock of your life”.  My attention was caught on this one.   

What does it really mean?  I began to understand when several flashes on the screen contained the following words- pause, read and reflect.  Trying to reflect on the phrase and the words that follow, I began reflecting on how I need to take a hold of my life, not to put many things.  

With so many distractions and influence coming from different stimuli, I believe we need a strong hold of ourselves so not to be driven away

1. Pause.  With all the complexities in this world nowadays, not counting people’s pre-occupation with technology, there’s so much that our minds are bombarded with.  We need time for ourselves. We need time to rest or just simply pause. I have the luxury of this when I was still a religious brother.  Every 6:00-7:00 in the evening we are in the chapel for silence and prayer.  There was plenty of time to pause.  Today, it’s almost difficult to pause especially owning a phone which is internet connected.   I’ve seen a lot  of people who are glued to their phones,  even in restaurants.  It is supposed to be the  time to talk to each other but you see them busy scrolling or manipulating their phones- individually, separately.  We need to pause.
 2. Read.  According to a quote used by Larry Gamboa, your future depends on the kind of book you are reading today.  Reading is not only to gain knowledge but to harness the brain to function productively.  For instance, I write this article because I was influenced by the words I read on the screen at the conference room.  However, I caution everyone to only read books or articles which you believe is helpful to you. 

3. Reflect. According to Socrates, unreflected life is not worth living.  We need to reflect on what is happening on our life.  Are we still on course of achieving our dreams?  Are we still doing the will of God?  Are our actions leading towards closeness in the family or the opposite?  Are we giving precious time with our loved ones? 

In Ignatian Spirituality, the practice of Examen is the most important practice to develop a deep relationship with God.  Examen, usually done in the evening or before going to bed, is simply reflecting on the day’s activity.  Where was God most evident in all our activities during the day? It is also a time to recognize our faults and be sorry for them.  Lastly, Examen leads us to commit to do better the following day. 

Having practiced these three, you will be guided in your words and deeds, plans and actions.  God will not give us specific direction what to do.  Just like in our gospel today(John 5:1-16), he asked the blind man what he wants Him to do.
 Therefore, pausing, reading and reflecting will lead you to nowhere if you don’t act.  Supposedly, the fourth one is obviously ACTION.  This is how to take a hold of your life in the loving embrace of God. 

Know and do God’s will by doing these simple steps.  

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