A Life Impacting Choice: Contemplate Life

September 18, 2021 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“… the meaning of life is found in every moment of living…” Viktor Frankl

For years I have written about how much I believe that “life is largely a choice.” We can’t always choose our circumstances (although often we can), but we can choose how we respond to our circumstances. Viktor Frankl wrote his most famous book on this subject, Man’s Search for Meaning, based on the lessons he learned from Nazi concentration camps during the holocaust.

Choice Considered

It is written: “Frankl concludes that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living; life never ceases to have meaning, even in suffering and death.” In my mind, to arrive at such a conclusion begins with “deep thought” and with “a mind predisposed toward goodness.” Both of which are a choice.

Who controls your mind? You or others. The default option is to allow others and our past to determine the value of life, while the progressive action is to make personal decisions to do so.

Let me discuss this a bit…

Choice Defined

Let’s get one thing clear to begin with: I fully believe that your life can be both fulfilled and immensely meaningful. If I didn’t detest the word “success” I would be tempted to say, “Yes. You can enjoy a successful life. (Only if success is defined on deeply personal convictions and by the elimination of disquieting voices—both internal and external.)

Regrettably, fulfillment, what I consider to be life’s ultimate accomplishment, comes only as the result of making a choice to unlearn the restrictive narratives we have been told most of our life, unhelpful habits which lead to distraction from essential goodness, and our seemingly insatiable need for power, prestige, and possessions.

As I have written a few times in the past, each day we are faced with two necessary opportunities and choices: (1) to live fully in the present with joy, paying attention and responding to life as it occurs, and (2) to know that whatever we do today is an adventure into Life 101: Lessons for the me (or the wine) I will become tomorrow.

Making “Choice” a Habit

Habits, disciplines, and rituals are customary with all of us, but how many of these are intentionally practiced to lead us to greater understanding of ourselves and the world we live in?

In the last couple of years especially I have come to the conclusion that I, personally, cannot reap the everyday (as well as future) value of my life without contemplation and a bit of journaling. I have learned that I must have regular times set aside for these two essential activities and rare is the day I miss them.

A Choice to Become

As I read the history of deep thinkers and people who make a difference with their lives, I find similar habits: one thing that I find extant in all these people: setting aside time to think (and usually to write—even briefly).

When Contemplation

Becomes Essential for Life

Photo courtesy of fizkes at istockphoto

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