Alignment is a Choice, Longevity is a Gamble: Life as Philosophy, Science and Art
Sep 04, 2015 02:47AM
● By David Davis
In the health care field, some of the questions that arise from paying close attention to patients are more philosophical than physical. What makes people happier, healthier and emotionally prosperous? Why do some individuals always place their “anchor” on the brighter side of life, while others, despite their many blessings, continue to curse the darkness? Why do some people exclude even the possibility of healthy choices where, for others, it is an innate expression of how they live—effortless and easy.
It is important to appreciate that alignment is a choice and longevity is a gamble. Longevity is a game of probability and outcomes, where even people who do all the “right” things may have their lives abbreviated. On the other hand, people who live in complete disregard for the principles of healthy living are able to squeeze out a couple of extra decades beyond the national average. Friedrich Nietzsche frequently referred to the Latin phrase amor fati, which means “love your fate”. Paying close attention to people can allow you to peacefully reconcile the reality that life doles out circumstances that are often in opposition to what you spend your life in preparation for. And yet, to embrace these fateful outcomes, is to sculpt peace from the clay of randomness and live contentedly. Longevity is a gift, made sweeter with abundant health.
In so many ways, life is like a three- legged stool; each leg is equally necessary to provide a solid foundation for a meaningful life. The analogy embraces the idea that life is a philosophy, a science and an art. Philosophy is the “why” of life; it is where you have chosen to invest your faith, purpose and understanding that gives your life meaning.
Those time-tested methodologies that have proven themselves over the ages are the “science” of life. They are the strategies of eating well, exercise, maintaining a positive attitude, getting proper rest, and any other application in the disciplines of physical and emotional health. Together, these strategies collaborate to drive you closer to the target of optimal well-being and inch you closer to the possibility of living a long life.
It is the “art” of living that has you walking a delicate tightrope. It is the choices you make, the distinctions you create, and ultimately what and who you choose to align yourself with that add the spices into the simmering cauldron of your life. Each choice can catapult your life into alignment or chaos. The art of life is aligning ourselves with the choices that give expression to your highest intentions and desires for a meaningful life. It is remembering who you are and what nurtures and uplifts you.
Sometimes, in recounting some of the less favorable moments of your past, you make the declarative statement that you are no longer that person, that you have become someone new and different. It is important to recognize that you are still that same person from whence you came. You live in a continuum of time whose present is the sum total of the experiences of the past and will give form to the future. You carry the past with you so you can take responsibility for and acknowledge the choices that have shaped you. The future is the stage of possibility; the present is simply the intersection of experience and possibility. Maintaining the relationship to the past and the future is part of the alignment continuum. To imagine a future is to live in possibility; to acknowledge the past is to take responsibility for the present. So to be in alignment is to be conscious of this thread that purposefully weaves its way through the moments of your life; you should pay homage to the influence it has had in shaping you.
You may dedicate your life to aligning yourself with the idea of bliss; the reality is that life doesn’t always feel blissful. However, a version of bliss exists if you align yourself with truth in all of its many forms. The universe creates and destroys in equal measure and you do not live your life separate from that. To be in alignment is to recognize that your creation and mortality afford you the opportunity to have an extraordinary life and reveal the illuminated path of love within your heart.
Longevity is the possibility of bringing yourself into the future. Ideally, you will be granted a long life of vigorous endeavor but longevity is much more than that. It is the legacy you create by the lives you touch. It is investing yourself into the people in your sphere of influence by being inspiring, uplifting and spiritually altruistic. It is planting the seeds of possibility and creativity. The works and ideas of great men and women have rendered them immortal, for who could possibly argue that Shakespeare has ceased to exist. The inspiration of Helen Keller, the innovation of Steve Jobs, the brushstrokes of Vermeer or Jackson Pollack, the poetry of Emily Dickenson or Walt Whitman, have each secured a place in the definition of longevity.
Longevity can also be measure of the depth of experience, even in its brevity. As Albert Einstein said, “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” Time is indeed relative and dare it be said that some people live more completely in the span of 20 years than others do in a century. Longevity is the depth and richness derived from the purity and honesty of the experience of your life. It is the lessons from what you have lost as well as the joys of what your imagination has made real.
Alignment and longevity are intimate cousins in that they are symbiotic, each contributing to the other. It follows that if an individual is in greater alignment with the higher ideals of his life, he lends himself to a greater depth of experience. The combination of the two is a pilgrimage indeed.
David Davis, DC, practices at Odyssey Chiropractic & Wellness Center, Ridgefield. Connect with him at 203-431-7779 or [email protected].