By Linda Moore
Published: March 2008
Related Topics: Current Issues
For too long many of us have existed believing that living a good life takes work. What if it isn't true? What if our lives are meant to be effortless?
It is time that we explored together our perspectives on living.
I am not sure when or how the idea arose that we have to work hard and settle for less than the optimum life. It appears in writings that go back as far as 3000 years and further. And it still doesn't make it true. I can only imagine that if I was doing my best to lead an unruly tribe of individuals in desert conditions that needed to herd, hunt and gather, I would have created some sort of message to keep them in line too. If I was a wealthy landowner with serfs on my land I would also want them to buy this nonsense! It is also a great message in a world of haves and have nots to keep those without, in line.
All the great spiritual and metaphysical teachers throughout the ages, including Jesus and Buddha have taught about "the effortless life". The essence of this way of being is based in a few powerful principles all related to our own thoughts. We simply need to become aware of them.
We always have a choice in how we view our immediate circumstances and in how we respond. We can choose to see our circumstances as a victim of life or see the opportunity in the moment. The daughter of a dear friend of mine is such a woman. Anne has suffered an excruciatingly painful, debilitating illness for thirteen years. Despite all of her struggles Anne chooses to be as fully present as is possible in all her close relationships, especially with her son and husband. It is the loving that is "effortless".
Knowing our purpose for our existence and following it creates an effortless life. I have a friend, George who is a natural teacher of art and music. He has no formal credentials for his work and is sought after by literally hundreds of people to share his knowledge and wisdom. He gets little pay for this and for him it is still effortless because he is doing what he was born to do.
Another friend of mine, June gets up each morning at 4:00 AM to meditate and do her yoga. For her it is effortless because it is done in support of her larger life purpose.
Make no mistake! The effortless life requires disciplined practices. Herein lays the paradox. It is the focus of attention in the choices we make, each day and every moment. To learn this well and lead an effortless life can happen in an instant or take a lifetime.
If I choose to be physically fit so that I can carry out my life purpose I need to exercise my body. Some days I wake up and for a moment, while unaware, I don't want to do it. However, the moment I remember why I am doing it, I can choose to make it effortless.
I have been in more than one job which was hard and difficult because it was not the work that I was born to do. Even though I was a single mom I chose more than once to quit and pursue what I love. There were many apparently harsh consequences to that choice. And because I remained focused on my search for meaningful work, I dealt with the consequences from a totally different perspective and the process felt effortless and "right".
For those of us blessed to be doing the work we were born to do, each day may be full of activities and yet there is a magical flow that makes the tasks again feel effortless.
In each instance it is in our thoughts that the effortlessness appears. It requires rigorous "noticing" and awareness to stop those thoughts that create the sense that life is hard or unfair. It takes discipline not to judge self or others. It requires intention not to take things personally or assume we understand a situation. It is this fierce attention, each and every moment, to being fully aware, that expands our sense of the effortless life....
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