Being Here Now Versus Purposeful Planning

The more I endeavor to live my life on purpose the more I realize that it’s not a black and white, either/or world.  Living in the paradoxes of life can be a very powerful way to live, despite its challenges. I’m reminded of a favorite quote of Gregg Levoy from his book Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life:

Heroism can be redefined for our age as the ability to tolerate paradox, to embrace seemingly opposing forces without rejecting one or the other just for the sheer relief of it, and to understand that life is the game played between two paradoxical goal posts: Winning is good and so is losing; freedom is good and so is authority; having and giving; action and passivity; sex and celibacy; income and outgo; courage and fear. One doesn’t cancel out the other. Both are true.

For example, many spiritual sages admonish us to “be here now,” stating rightly so that the only moment we really have is now. So, we’re encouraged to not worry about the past or get overly concerned or caught up in planning for the future.  Instead, just “be here now.” So, does that mean we should give up planning for where we want our life to go — stop planning for the future?

I don’t think so. I think this is where we can get into trouble with either/or thinking.  I prefer to look at this as a purposeful paradox where a bit of both/and thinking will serve us well.

As I’ve pondered upon this over the past several days, an image of a child’s seesaw has come to mind. You know the kind that is often found on a playground, except in my mind instead of having a child sitting on either end, there was on one seat the words, “Be Here Now,” and on the other seat was “Purposeful Planning.”

You see, I believe it’s important to maintain a balance between both aspects if we want to live a life on purpose. In fact, at the very middle of my mental image right at the fulcrum point were the words, Divinely Inspired Life Purpose. It’s our life purpose that becomes the fulcrum for keeping our seesaw in balance. It’s also what connects the two ends.  Here’s how.

When we’re out to ‘be here now’ the ideal way to be is to be our life purpose — to stay aware of our Divinely Inspired Life Purpose so it can shape our experience of life, and thus shape our decisions, choices, actions and results. At the same time, as we’re purposefully planning our life, we want that planning to be shaped as much as possible by our Divinely Inspired Life Purpose. “One doesn’t cancel out the other. Both are true.

It’s your turn. Post your questions and comments below.