On a day of the brightest sunshine I was looking up at the stark white clouds set against the blue sky, stretched out like silk. I wondered to myself, what is the most important thing in my life? Pausing for a while I waited, but I didn't receive an answer straight away. Nevertheless, the asking and waiting taught me something. Those pale clouds in the sky are formed when part of the earth, a ploughed field perhaps, is warmed by the sun. The air rises up into the sky carrying with it moisture that condenses into bundles of fluff at those cool high altitudes. Standing in the sunlight on that bright day, I felt my life too warmed by the sun and it raised my mind to what was important to me. My thoughts turned to dreams of the future. Not plans carefully worked out but deeper things some of which I could not even describe.
In a life that is so full of distractions, that simple question of centring my life on what is important can make a huge difference. By working out what that is and by living my life according to that priority rather than anything else I can tap into my deeper desires. Here’s a different kind of cloud exercise for you. The tag cloud to the left of this blog tells you which are the most popular subjects of this blog. What would happen if you made a tag cloud of your own life? What would be the words that came up most frequently in the conversations in your work and daily life? This might tell you what is important to you and when I tried this it showed me that I prioritise some pretty strange things in my life. But it might not show us what is really important to us because sometimes the things which we never get round to saying are the hidden values and motivations for our life. I want to find out what those things are because by nourishing them I can unleash a new potential for growth in my life.
Instead, looking at the things which we do, but never really talk about, we can discover the beating heart of our lives. And perhaps this is the place to rediscover our real commitment to faith. Ludwig Wittgenstein, the 20th Century Austrian philosopher once wrote that
“The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.”
So, spend some time looking at your own life, at the simple and familiar actions that don’t seem so important. How do you do them and why? There, perhaps you can discover a heart beating at the centre of your life in the things you do, as well as the things which you say. When you start to be aware of what is really important to you and really motivates you (even if you can’t describe it) let it be warmed by the sun. Nourish it and permit it to take over your life letting other things which are not so important fall away. Just like those clouds floating up high into the atmosphere, then your dreams can rise up too.