I have been writing about action and inertia and how these two disparate ideas may be critical to a purposeful life. I am proposing that these two ideas are as harmonious as they are disparate. They are like night and day or up and down. Our consciousness about these dichotomies of nature is often dormant. The Country Western song by Aaron Tippin says it well, If You Don’t Stand For Something, You’ll Stand For Anything. It might be said that if you don’t believe in the essential balance of the yin and the yang, life will move in and out of these two phases sans self-direction.
What is the result of non-directed action that never takes the time out to reflect on itself? What happens when we go through the motions of life without asking, “Am I living the life I want to be living?” or “Am I living a meaningful life?” The questions are probably irrelevant. What is important is that the questions are asked. In the theme of a Country Western song, If you don’t stop for directions, you’ll wander aimlessly.
So, what questions have you been allowing the activity of your life to thwart? What possibilities are you foregoing for the sake of maintaining the status quo?
How much courage does it take to ask the questions and explore the answers? How much courage does it take to freeze in place and encourage a clear reflection undisturbed by the distorted ripples of unguided and often senseless activity?
Can it be said that the stillness allows our internal voice to be heard and that activity is the physical expression of that voice. In a culture where incentives to conform to social models driven by consumerism and social status are prominent, we are rewarded for activity and material gain. Of course, this is the capitalistic way of life. Ironically, our shared values to achieve and gain get us to the same mountain top. But, because capitalism is so tied to individualism, we usually arrive there alone. A moment of great joy cannot be sustained by just one. It must be shared. So, here is a third component to this dyad of inertia/pausing and action. It is sharing. A meaningful life may require moments of stillness, followed by self-directed action, followed by a communal sharing that nourishes sustainability and continued growth.