Are you getting jaded, disheartened, or depressed by what is happening around the world?
Our world today is full of strife, noise, and excesses. These chaos around us can deplete us of our inner energy and peace, causing us to drift mindlessly or drown in a sea of confusion or meaninglessness. It is easy to lose ourselves.
So we need to retain or restore our sense of balance and of self. One way to do this is by establishing a daily pattern and rhythm.
Lately, I’ve been striving to build pattern and rhythm into my everyday life under the maxim, Ora et Labora: Prayer and work incorporated into each of my day. I also include listening to music into my routine: classical, instrumental, and healing music.
My inspiration for this is the monastic and convent life of religious orders and congregations of contemplative priests/monks and nuns, (those whose main life is devoted to prayer inside their monasteries or convents) such as, to name a few, the Benedictines, the Carmelites, and the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters (Pink Sisters) of which my younger sister is a member.
Their daily life is marked by a routine of worship and prayer, work and study, rest and recreation.
Not to overlook that singing is also part of their worship and prayer. Music is very much interwoven into their daily pattern.
PATTERN and RHYTHM Brings ORDER into Our Lives
It will be good for us, if we can adopt the same principle into our own life in the secular world.
Establishing a daily pattern and rhythm brings order into our lives, both external and internal. Let me explain further.
Have you ever had some experience dealing with or interacting with contemplative monks/priests and nuns?
If so, you must have noticed how calm, quiet, and gentle they go about their day. Even their movement seems unhurried and fluid, their voice soft and angelic. Nothing harsh nor abrupt in the way they move or speak. The same is true with my own sister and her co-sisters in their convent.
It must be their disciplined, structured life. I also remember my professor in Pastoral Psychology and Counseling, a Jesuit priest, reminding us to “move slowly, speak slowly, eat slowly.” He stressed the importance of being in the moment, in the here-and-now.
Perhaps there is wisdom in that way of living, which we can adapt to our own individual environment, circumstances, and everyday living to:
- Help us put up with the negative forces around us of which we have little control;
- Enable us to tackle the challenges and problems of modern life, especially those brought about by technology, and still remain sane.
Among the downside of technology we are facing today are:
- Disconnect between the real and the virtual world
- Climate of negativity and superficiality on social media
- Spread of fake news, lies, and hate-crimes
- Depression and suicide among the young
- Technology-driven warfare
So disheartening, huh? That is why, I state again, we need to have some form of defense against these negative forces in the external world, or call it crutch if you will, to help us maintain our inner composure and equilibrium. Something to pull us back to ourselves in case we get lost.
Now, some of you especially the young or those of you who are more free-spirited and dislike being hemmed in by a strict time regimen and routine, maybe you won’t agree with me. But it pays to have structure and regularity in our daily life.
In fact, studies show we are wired to follow certain patterns and rhythms – just like our heart beats, breathing, and sleep-wake cycle, for example. Even nature follows patterns and rhythms, like the rising and setting of the sun, the ebb and flow of tides, seasonal changes, and so on.
Just observe things around you. You will notice the presence of patterns and rhythms in your own life and in the natural world. Don’t you just feel safe and secure when you see daylight comes out after the dark hours of night? No matter the weather is, day is sure to follow night. That is the natural law, the natural order of things.
More than a disciplined, well-arranged daily pattern, these priests/monks and cloistered nuns seem to be possessed with quiet confidence that everything will be alright despite all the above-mentioned issues. They remain unperturbed like lotuses in a pond.
We can indeed re-arrange our days to help us weather the external chaos going on around us; that despite the turmoil of a superficial, hostile world, we can still live with inner peace and balance.
In my next post, I will show you how you can create pattern and rhythm in your own life through Worship, Work, and Music interwoven into each of your days.
* NOTE: This is my revised post. The original contains the 2nd part which I now have to make into a new post in itself.