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This week’s topic is a very provocative one. We want you to stop and think: What is the purpose of life? What is a life, what is this rat race all about? This is an important question that deserves attention. After all, do we get in the car to go on a trip without knowing where we are going and why? Are we not on the most important trip of them all, the trip of life? How many of us are running around with no destination in mind?
Perhaps we should all take a hint from Adam Sandler’s new film, Click, and hit the pause button. If you’re not familiar with Click it is a movie that focuses on a workaholic architect, Michael Newman, (Adam Sandler) who discovers a universal remote control which allows him to pause, fast-forward and rewind through different parts of his life. What a neat gadget. Or is it?
Almost all the time when we speak of our lives, we are talking about our bodies, a job or perhaps our families. But a life is far more. We actually exist in many realms. What defines a realm? It is a domain within the time-space continuum. Why borrow a term from Albert Einstein? Because a realm defies physical boundaries. A life exists within a family, workplace, community, society, world and finally, the universe. All these areas are interconnected, dynamic and fluid, they co-exist. Try as we may, they cannot be separated. But in Click Michael Newman does. His universal remote allows a break in this time-space continuum. He is able to pause, fast forward or rewind through any part of his life that he chooses to ignore or simply not deal with. Some people found the movie funny; personally, I found it sad. By the end of the movie, so did the star as he realized that although he obtained great fame and fortune, by messing with the time-space continuum he actually missed all the important aspects of living including his fathers death, his kids growing up, and his defunct marriage which disappeared without him having any recollection.
What Michael Newman regretted as he lay in the street dying of a heart attack was that he missed the entire point of living, the journey of life. It is this journey that is the essence of living. Click does an excellent job portraying one man who lost the big picture. A man consumed by one thing, the pursuit of his job and achieving the greatest degree of success, money, and power. In the end of course, he realizes his mistake.
So what is a full life? It is one that moves though all realms; deep relationships, marriage, family, and jobs; it participates in the community, gives to society, and eventually seeks to answer the quintessential questions, who am I, where did I come from, why am I here and where am I going?
The essence of living is not the end, but the journey. The idea that we spend our lives living to someday reach retirement is a myth. When we spend all our waking hours working to someday live, we are failing to live in the now and missing precious moments of joy and simply being. The journey of a lifetime is the collection of experiences, relationships and all the pain, turmoil, joy, success and failure in between. The purpose of this journey is to evolve, to grow, to learn confidence and courage; to discover our unique creative abilities; to overcome our fears and doubts; to learn to believe and have faith and most importantly, to discover our life purpose and through challenges, trails and errors, to overcome those challenges and make a contribution using our unique essence. This is the journey it is The Way. There is no messing with this time-space formula, if you skip part of it, you mess up the journey. If you attempt to hide in some safe corner, avoiding the pain or failure, you miss the trip of a lifetime.
For you see, The Way is a path. It is rigid in design – the process of living is fixed, but is completely elastic in application – you choose how to live this life. It can be either elusive and endless or seized and achieved. We can take it, but we cannot give it. We can use it, but we cannot own it. We can teach it, but it cannot be written. It can be confident or hesitant, courageous or fearful, exhilarating or passive, joyous or tearful. It can be none of these things or all of them. One thing is absolute, it serves a unique purpose and that is for each of us to discover our essence. This is the essence of living. It cannot be rushed through with the touch of a button.
Every major hurdle or experience along The Way is meant to help us hone one of seven essential mental qualities such as confidence, courage, or faith and to learn to apply those qualities in a realm of our existence, like work or with our families. It is only then, after experiencing difficulties that we understand the power of confidence or faith and it is then that we discover satisfaction and fulfillment. Unfortunately most of us have been programmed into believing that what we do is who we are. Nothing could be further from the truth. If who we are is what we do, then our life is nothing but our job and that is only one realm of existence. A life is comprised of far more than a job; a life also includes a family, a vocation, a community, society, our bodies and the universe. The art of discovering one’s essence and applying it in a realm will gain success but we attain satisfaction when we have filled a higher calling, a greater purpose. In Click, that moment was shared in the closing minutes, not in fast forward, rewind or pause, but in play.