It’s not the length but the quality of life that matters to me. It has always been important to me to write one sentence at a time,
to live every day as if it were my last and judge it in those terms, often badly, not because it lacked grand gesture or grand passion
but because it failed in the daily virtues of self-discipline, kindness, and laughter. It is love, very ordinary, human love, and not fear, which is the good teacher and the wisest judge. -Jane Rule
We’re all surrounded by things that are supposed to improve our quality of life. And in many ways, these things do so. We have refrigerators that keep our food cold so that we don’t get sick, water heaters that provide us with hot water when we need it, furnaces that keep us warm in the winter. But these are all outside things, and Jane is talking about what comes from inside that improves the quality of the lives we live.
What she’s saying is that we determine the quality of our own lives. We determine how we look at a day, how we look at a situation, how we will act and what we will say. We determine how we will respond to other people’s actions or words, and we determine whether or not we’re going to hold a grudge or practice forgiveness.
For Jane, it sounds like the “daily virtues” are much more important than those things that make up “the grand scheme of life.” If I’m able to discipline myself and share my kindness and my laughter, then the quality of my life for this day shall be very high. And isn’t this day all that truly matters? Right now is the only moment over which I have control over what I do and how I do it, and if I were to know that I was going to die tonight, how would I live my right now?
If I were to know that, I think that I’d be spending my time telling the people who have done so much for me just how much they mean to me, and I’d be trying to leave those last words of encouragement with the people who most could use them. I don’t know if I could accomplish that in one day, but who knows? And if I had any time left over, then I would go for a long walk in the woods. Only then would I know that I had left something of lasting value for people who could use it.
Questions to ponder:
1. What are your most important “daily virtues”?
2. What would you do if this were your last day?
3. What does it mean to say that “love is a teacher”?
For further thought:
Living life in terms of your vision and working toward your goals must be done in the context of today’s activities. Do not focus too heavily on the results of your efforts. Do not live for the future attainment of your goal. Live your life through the lens of your vision and what can be done in the present moment. Living your vision is not about reaching your goals. It is about living and working toward them. It is not about producing results but about living your life in a more meaningful and personally rewarding way.-Ari Kiev
To see other daily meditations you might have missed you can go here.