HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 5, 2014 – 12:00am
Every new year, every new month, at the start of every new week or day, I feel that time is moving too quickly and that I am running out of it. It seems that most everyone I talk to feels that 2013 simply went by so fast.
There was a time not too long ago when it seemed I had all the time in the world to dream, and still more time to fulfill those dreams in the future. But these days, I feel the time to get started for some of them is already here and if I don’t act soon, they will just come and go quickly and the opportunity to catch up will probably not come back anymore. And besides, if I wait any longer, I may not have enough strength, nor the foolhardiness left to just go and do them all.
I recently saw a graphic representation of the Earth’s environmental clock that suggests that we have gone past the time when any action can still prevent climate change, and we must now work overtime in order to counter or avert its more disastrous consequences from fully taking place.
I have my own personal clocks that are sending me warning signals that I am running out of time to do some of the important work that I still must do before the deadline comes.
There is more music I want to write — meaningful works of beauty and emotion that I want to add, not only to my own catalogue of creations, but to our national repertoire of songs, if they are deemed worthy enough.
There are more books I want to write, an autobiography perhaps, or one about the history of OPM, which chronicles the life and times of the era I have lived through, and the talented people I have met and worked with. I also want to write more about evolving consciousness, transcendence, Oneness, the eternal present and everyday spirituality that enchants and gives meaning to my daily life. And more and more, I want to live my life in this way.
Then there are travels — destinations waiting to be discovered. I also want to share with and spread hope, love, good cheer and inspiration to people I already know and love and those I have yet to meet. More and more, these days, I regard everyone I meet as people sent by God to lead me to where I must go and help me do what I must do. There is much to learn from everyone so I pay attention to every encounter.
I have to admit I have a bad case of world-centrism, a state of being that makes me identify with humanity and its joys, trials, sufferings and triumphs. I literally care about what happens to people in all parts of the world even if I do not know them. I literally want to do my share in liberating people from suffering by increasing and lifting their consciousness to better deal with what they are going through. I want to be able to contribute to the forward movement of human evolution to greater consciousness and integral wholeness.
These are all big ideas suggesting big tasks. I know that the way to go is to take the appropriate action that is within my capacity in every endeavor of human activity I engage in. Every step, big or small, counts. In this way, I know I am moving in the direction of integrating my life fully with my spiritual beliefs.
But at the same time, something tells me that too much of wanting to change the world is not what it is all about. Besides, can I really do everything I want to before my life comes to an end?
Life is not a race with anyone, not even with oneself regarding how much one can do, achieve, conquer or change. There are things we will do well, and things we will do in a mediocre or passable way. And there will be occasions when we will fail completely at doing what needs to be done. In short, we will be successful at some and fail in others.
What I know at my age is that we should not overly concern ourselves with personal achievements. It is important to pay attention more to our personal intentions. Why do we do what we do? And how do we do what we do? What goes on inside us when we do them? What do we want to get out of what we do?
I have spent a lot of time exploring my personal quiet space where I have asked myself these questions and I have come up with many answers. Some answers are clear; some questions remain unanswered. And often, the mere fact that I asked questions and got the answers I did was reason enough for me to re-examine my own intentions.
Yes, intention is more important since it precedes action. But to determine one’s intentions or even make a truly conscious one, we have to be completely honest with ourselves. This requires a self-awareness that one can’t get without diving internally and exploring what is within one’s self. One must know one’s self enough to be acquainted with one’s own fine print.
I know the passage of time, together with some amount of self-examination, has made me develop greater self-acceptance. But this did not come automatically. I learned that to reach self-acceptance, I had to work continuously at personal forgiveness and an unconditional acceptance of myself.
And so I learned to embrace my imperfect, but (to me) ultra-wonderful human self. I have learned that yes, I can cause both great and horrible things to happen.
There are things I have done (and will still do) that will ultimately matter when all is said and done, and there are other things that will not. Those that will matter are actions that are guided by love and for the well-being of others. Those that will not matter will be my many acts of narcissism, self-indulgence, and those that seem oblivious to, or in denial of, my connection to every sentient being.
And so as I focus and work on my to-do list, I must make sure that I do not waste my time creating and doing things without intending to put any loving effort into them. I must be attentive and purposeful. What I do for myself must also affect others positively.
Nothing else matters now. At this point, I either do all of them with the intention of somehow benefiting humanity even in just a small way, or save my time by abandoning some of them that I can’t really do with love and purpose. And I am short of time.