The most important thing


  • ‘The most important thing is to find out what is the most important thing’

    Shunryu Suzuki

As it usually goes with Zen quotes, they are deceptively simplistic! At the start of this year I found myself thinking about how to ensure I don’t lose focus on what I dream of achieving. As many of you can probably relate to, so many of our plans get derailed by distraction, unforeseen events, changes in our motivation, inertia…. life itself! Of course, it’s important to have goals, to write them down, to keep our diaries up-to-date, to keep working at it … These are all things we can do to not lose track.
However (and in the spirit of not adding yet another item to our overwhelming ‘to-do’ lists!), what interests me is what we can be so that life takes care of itself. Now, I’m not advocating entering a state of extreme letting go here! On the contrary, I propose adopting an active attitude that digs deep: a way of being that anchors us and enables us to live in a more relaxed way, knowing that we are always connected to what is truly important for us.
One thing I know is that the world needs the real me, nothing less. And when life comes at me with its unpredictability, its challenges, its surprises and its pain, I know that what is expected of me is that I understand myself better, that I shine ever more light into who I am. Life can appear like an endless obstacle course, or we can see it as an enormous treasure trove – where the treasure we find is inside.
And I have concluded that the most important thing is to know our values. We need to define them clearly, announce them to the world, write them on our fridges and our phones, live them every day. Our values are intimately related to our deep life needs: they are what we believe is most important, and more often than not, they are also what we long for in our lives, as well as what we give to the world… How many of us actually stop and do this exercise of getting to know ourselves like this? We can distract ourselves creating infinite lists of things we want to achieve – yet we all know that what deeply satisfies us is when our lives are an expression of our internal coherence of mind and soul. And we can only walk towards this unity if we are aware of what we are about, if we know our core.
Our values can be our compass in everything we do, capturing the essence of what we set out to achieve. In the end, it’s all about our truth and staying connected to it. In this way, we will be slowly and deeply weaving the tapestry of our selves. Because, whether we realize it or not, living is a process of becoming who we are.

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