Life as a Spiritual Checkbook
I sometimes imagine life as a spiritual checkbook. Rather than for dollars, we write checks of “time.” We really don’t know how much time we have in our spiritual checking account; but we assume that we have an average amount for a person of our gender. How we write our checks becomes a serious matter. It determines the quality of our lives, and even affects the quantity of time in the checking account.
Ray Bradbury, the author, approached these issues with a clear mindedness, which we seldom see in our culture. He thought the “process of existence,” life in other words, was the most important consideration in our own living. And he promoted the idea of “deriving pleasure from the gift of pure being.” For him, “Life is its own answer.” And he added, “Hold that which lives in all reverence.”
Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles.
I first heard these words spoken by a Martian in the TV version of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. Over the years, I listened to the Martian several times, and am always intrigued by what he says. He advises us to focus our reverence on our own lives, rather than only on things outside of ourselves.
So with this quick introduction, I present Ray Bradbury’s statement about what is the secret of the Martian way of life, for your consideration. The Martian says:
“Secret …. There is no secret. Anyone with eyes can see the way to live …. By watching life, observing nature, and cooperating with it. Making common cause with the process of existence ….
By living life for itself, don’t you see? Deriving pleasure from the gift of pure being .…
Life is its own answer. Accept it and enjoy it day by day. Live as well as possible. Expect no more. Destroy nothing, humble nothing, look for fault in nothing. Leave unsullied and untouched all that is beautiful.
Hold that which lives in all reverence. For life is given by the sovereign of our universe; given to be savored, to be luxuriated in, to be respected.
But that’s no secret. You’re intelligent. You know as well as I what has to be done.”
I suppose some people might take the Martian’s words as an environmental manifesto. But the aspect I want to focus on is our need to “stop and smell the roses,” and take time out of our busy days to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of life.
Seek First The Kingdom Within, and All Else Will Follow
Bradbury’s words challenge us to change our orientation from the acquisition of material things and constantly pursuing entertainment, and instead focus on the peace and pleasure of pure being. The intent of these words is not that far from the essence of the phrase “Seek first the kingdom within, and all else will follow.” It’s not that we should give up major parts of our lives, and get into self-denial or asceticism, but these words of wisdom encourage us to think about our priorities.
I have personally found that realigning my life priorities has increased the quality, if not the quantity, of the time in my spiritual checkbook.
If you want to hear the Martian speak these words, please check out this eight minute YouTube video:
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