Sunday, January 27, 2013

Surviving vs. Thriving: The Internal Battle

As confidence and capacity grow, so does our culpability. Choices increase in frequency and importance. Our actions are easier when the choices are to survive or not to survive. When the question becomes to thrive or not to thrive, a host of internal and external obstacles appear in our path, most of our own creation.

The internal sources are absolutely within our domain to affect. The mind’s capacity for laxity is truly profound. This is our chief internal obstacle to thriving. It’s much easier, especially in the short term, to not be active in life. This isn’t just physical exertion; it’s also mental and emotional exertion. All forms of exertion are linked.

Physically, there can be initial resistance to exercise as it takes not just time but willingness and energy.  Even climbing out of bed is not always easy to do, especially if we have no willingness or energy to do so. Making exercise a priority is the only way to create the time and willingness to do it. If we do not make sleeping and waking up a priority, we are not taking care of ourselves.

The simplest forms of physical exertion must be appreciated, as for many waking up or even sleeping can be problematic. To ignore these sleeping and waking aspects of our daily life, even if we don’t experience trouble, is dangerous. These are crucial to any and all exertion we wish to make, and it is the extra exertion in our day where thriving may take place.

Willingness is key to anything we want to do. We have to make priorities. If we do not, we are more likely to trend toward mundane survival as opposed to thriving. Willingness is both mental and emotional in nature. Exertion is crucial for thriving. The mind does not want to challenge its own assumptions, attachments or aversions. This takes time, willingness and energy. We have to make challenging our mind and this life a priority, otherwise it will not happen. It is far easier to not challenge our thoughts and feelings then it is to expand or explore our perspectives and views.

This is as simple as practicing an instrument, such as piano or flute, or practicing a sport. Our bodies and our minds are exploring what we’re doing, thoroughly. Practice is a luxury that many seem unable to complete. Without making practice a priority, it simply lacks our full physical, mental and emotional focus. And, what we practice is completely up to us. It is only through practice that skills are sharpened and capacities broadened.

If we are not emotionally and mentally invested in exploration and expansion of our views and perspectives, then the likelihood of using internal resources in this pursuit is greatly diminished. A sincere passion for understanding, regardless of any obstacles, is necessary to break through the internal issues of laxity, focus and drive.

Often as adults, we forget about practice, a crucial component of a thriving life. It is rare to just wake up and be thriving. There is much time, energy, willingness and resources necessary to accomplish anything beyond our survival. And, we may have not applied ourselves completely to anything in a considerable time. We can, however, begin to practice today. We have to be willing, as we are already able. We have to not simply want an outcome; we have to want the work toward that end.  

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