“To live is holy…”

View on Beech Mountain January 2019 – Rime Ice.

“Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.”  ~Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Living on top of a mountain is a great way to learn how to embrace the now. Heschel’s quote above echoes many of the teachings of Buddhism and is the ultimate goal in all meditation.  This past week I have been down with illness and forced to be still even more than normal. In some ways it annoyed the heck out of me and made me sad. The biggest joy came in recognizing a gift because I was still enough for a change.

Learning to be still is part of learning to “just be”. In our hectic world frenzy is what is encouraged. Multitasking is the goal of getting everything done as fast as possible. That propensity towards rushing and doing is part of the reason our world is overcome…but only a part.

Talking with my mom today she talked about her desire to hurry up and get well within an hour “like on tv” these days. We have microwaves and fast or faster food. Healing takes time. If we consider reality, everything worthwhile takes time. Good art, good food, good music all come about through care and time.

Shaking an hourglass doesn’t make time go by faster any more than our shaking lives. Saying “get well soon” is partly our wish for our friend or family member to be well. Yet, as more and more drugs are given for more and more things (some unnecessary), it’s clear that we want time to hurry up. We don’t have time to “just be” or “just live”.

Part of it is our buying into society’s view that the busier you are, the more valuable you are as a person. Another part, however, is having the courage to face the “be-ing” of one’s self. Maybe you wanted to be a boy when you were born. Maybe you wanted to be blonde or a tycoon. Maybe you wanted to save the world like Gandhi or Jesus. Maybe you just didn’t want to be like anyone else. Only you know that answer…and only if you can take time to be still and just live.



This reflection is written by J. Robin Whitley.

Categories Spiritual Discipline

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