Sunday, April 1, 2012

What If The Race Is Over And We All Automatically Win? - Part One

This is part one of a song study, with the song being "If The Race Is Over" by California-based singer/songwriter Daniel Nahmod.  

Part One:

What do I do if I'm not chasing anything?
What do I do if I've got everything that I need?
It's a question that no-one's prepared me to answer.

Perhaps you're like me and you find yourself chasing after many things. There are the obvious, tangible things: a better-paying job, better health, the man or woman of your dreams.  But mostly I think we chase after broader states of mind and soul like happiness or contentment or peace, and we're hoping that those tangible things will bring us happiness. But what do I do if I'm not chasing anything?  This statement seems to require that we slow down, perhaps turning off our computers or televisions or iPods.  We live in an increasingly stress-filled world, with many of us gobbling up anti-anxiety medication like the Nerds we used to eat when we were children.  And a lot of it is because for one reason or another we are not content with "just being" with ourselves.  When was the last time you spent a half-hour in the complete silence, just with yourself, or with God, if you believe in God such as I. Forget half an hour, how about 15 minutes?  Somehow we've bought the lie that by "doing things" we will find true peace and happiness, when really the answer is much closer.  

What do I do if I've got everything that I need? If we stop chasing things, thinking that happiness lies just a movie or song or person away, if we learn to take the time to stop, we begin to change. We begin to become more comfortable with ourselves, at home in our own skin. And we may even begin to hear positive messages of re-inforcement or peace or love that instead of coming from outside of us, are beckoning us from our own hearts. Henri Nouwen called this "the inner voice of Love." Others call it the voice of God. Still other people call it their higher self.  The messages of re-inforcement and affirmation that we often look to others for without success actually can come from within. Actually, many a relationship fails because we expect other people to provide for us what only God can give: a sense of wholeness and peace and self-worth. Sometimes we jump from person to person to person, or from place to place or activity to activity looking for the very thing that can be nourished within us if we just spent a few moments each day just in quietness. This can take on different forms for people. Be easy on yourself. If staying completely quiet is too hard at first, try putting on some quieter music. If sitting still is too hard, open a journal and write how you're truly feeling.  5 minutes. 5 minutes. 5 minutes again. And then start increasing it.

We don't have to chase anymore for the things that we crave the most. They are there within us, waiting to be born anew.