At One with the World

You possibly know or have heard of the 1970 book Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. It’s described as “a story for people who follow their dreams and make their own rules”. In explaining the book’s central message, the author was quoted in 1972 as saying, “Jonathan is that brilliant little fire that burns within us all, that lives only for those moments when we reach perfection.”

One way or another we can relate to the idea of reaching perfection, an instance in which we feel truly alive and in harmony with the present. It might occur as we catch ourselves being fully focused on a task at work. Time seems to stop, yet our awareness is absolute and our productivity almost machine-like. Outside of work we might experience it whilst participating in our favourite sport or leisure activity. Perhaps it’s found in the pleasure of consciously watching the sun set over the horizon. Life is enriched by such moments.

Living from a position of such perfection seems an idealistic dream. Daily life is concerned with to-do lists and concreteness, not obscure nonsense. Yet let’s consider the question further. Isn’t a presentation run-through, a rehearsal in the theatre, a session on the training pitch, or a meditation sitting preparation for ‘reaching perfection’? From this perspective we’re probably already striving for perfection. Our daily efforts are most likely wrapped up in our search for it.

I just can’t help wondering, however, whether in all our efforts we aren’t missing the perfection present in our actions, the magnificence of being whilst doing, as it were. I don’t know the answer but I feel life consists of a series of continuous ‘now’ moments. If we can learn to savour each one as we move through the day then possibly we will be soaring high with Jonathan.

Ciao for now.



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