Living your Best Life

And the dust returns to the earth as it once was,
and the life breath returns to God who gave it.
Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
all things are vanity!
— Ecclesiastes 12:7-8

Brothers & Sisters,

At some point in your life, the time will come where you'll have a pause from the hustle and bustle of your 21st-century life and contemplate whether or not you're living the absolute best life you can live. This might sound very cliche but stick with me here.

If you believe that when we die our bodies return to the earth and our souls return to our creator (in my case, God), then you have to wonder at some point during your tenure here on Earth whether or not what you're surrounding your physical self with is the right thing or not. 

Let me expand this point a bit further. In Plato's Phaedo (an account of Socrates' last day on earth) he argues his position about the separation of body and soul with Cebes and Simmias. One of the main points in Plato's Phaedo and Apology for me was how Socrates but a great deal of focus and effort into being a "good person." Socrates didn't concern himself with wealth, titles, professions or delusions of any kind of grandeur. What he did concern himself with though was making sure his soul was as pure as possible so in the event of his death his soul would be as pure as it could be when it reached Hades. This is a very high-level overview of the concepts of soul vs. body Plato presents and if you want to learn more or dive a bit deeper, you should read the Phaedo or some of the responses over at Quora to a similar question of Body vs. Soul (link).

By presenting Plato and the above bible verse to you, the overarching theme that should ring clear for you is that vanity is just one of the pieces that make humans ignorant. Most people are unable to perceive the greater spiritual benefits we'd reap if we only had the knowledge that our souls are worth far more than our bodies.

One of the greatest wrongs we can do to ourselves is filling our lives with non-important goods that serve no purpose other than a fleeting sense of happiness and self-worth. Once you realize that the car you're driving, the 90 inch TV you're watching, the $10,000 watch you're wearing have no actual value to your soul, you'll have a sudden shift of priorities in your life. You'll suddenly have a clarity that you've never experienced before. This clarity of your soul was being blocked by the material nature of you being a human living in a world where we value those material possessions more than anything else.

Now I am not telling you to get up and sell everything. However, if you did want to start making improvements and move away from materialism and start focusing more on feeding your soul and living a better life, then I would suggest just simplifying things around your house. The next time you're out shopping because you absolutely need the latest and greatest shiny thing ask yourself "Do I really need this new shiny thing?" If you even have the slightest hesitation the answer is, no. If you manage to walk away and not purchase that shiny, frivolous trinket, you were after you've taken the first step towards a cleaner, less cluttered life. Congratulations! You can apply this sense of thinking to almost anything on a daily basis. After a while, you'll start to become quite conscious of your actions as you move throughout the day.

What about dealing with people or problems at work? The same concept applies. You want to feed your soul good food and not junk. So don't be quick to act if you know the actions of your haste could be detrimental to you and those around you. Stop, think and then execute on the plan.

My brothers and sisters, in conclusion, it's essential for us to take care of our bodies and our souls. What we shouldn't do is weigh ourselves down with material things that don't make us better people. I believe we all want to be good people, but to get there, I also think we have to shake off the yoke of our materialistic selves.

Yours,
Jeff

Photo by Giammarco Boscaro on Unsplash