Posted by: Jenny | Monday, 6 October 2008

Being and doing

This is the first time I have written in my blog for almost a year.  Why I abandoned it all this time, I don’t really know.  It is true that I have not yet settled into a pattern of retired (in fact, semi-retired) life – but it was partly with the aim of writing about that transition process that I started this blog.

The empty page is no longer so empty.  Quite the reverse, in fact.  There are many things that I can do, and several that I want to do, and yet more that other people have asked me to do or that I have volunteered for, even if I am not particularly keen to do them.  Then of course, in my heart I know that life is not just about ‘doing’ – it is about ‘being’, and letting one’s own self-knowledge and personal, spiritual development influence the way one interacts with others to create a better world.

Retirement has offered me opportunities to develop the ‘being’ aspect.  I take time out to sit and read, or relax in the garden.  Even half an hour spent in this way during the day seems much more valuable than an hour or two watching TV in the evening.  I try to set aside time for prayer and meditation, though I have not got a very steady routine for this.  During this past year I have found great joy in acting as a tutor for several books in a series of Bahá’í courses aimed at enhancing spiritual awareness and developing in the participants the skills to serve the wider community.  Though tutoring these courses can be seen as ‘doing’, I am also a participant and learn through the experience.

A couple of months ago I made a list of things I could ‘do’ – though some of them also involve ‘being’ – with a view to setting priorities.  Revisiting this list, though I did not set any priorities on the items, I feel that I am getting a better balance.  The gaps are mainly in creative and reflective activities, and I see that the only way I am going to fill these is to set aside specific times of the day or week in which to focus  on improving my drawing skills, playing the piano, and writing.  This is always difficult because I feel that the only person who directly benefits from these things is myself.

I’m sure there is a link to be made between creative activity, spiritual development, self knowledge and serving others.  Any offers?

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