In my previous post, I talk about the need to Establish a Daily Pattern and Rhythm in Our Lives.
This is so we can have some order and inner peace and a sense of balance. But how can we create a daily pattern and rhythm to bring about these?
Let us first look at these terms.
Pattern, according to Oxford dictionary, is “a regular and intelligible form or sequence discernible in certain actions or situations.” Rhythm, says Oxford, is “a regularly recurring sequence of events, actions, or processes.”
Through our daily routine and regular activities, we are able to build a system or order of conducting our lives, which lends a certain cadence or tempo into our days.
Hence, we talk of our regular eating/sleeping time and so forth. If we skip a beat, we might feel uneasy. We get sick, if we form the bad habits of sleeping too late or getting not enough sleep, and missing our meals. (I will be writing more on this in a later post.)
Again, using the fine example of contemplative religious communities, they start and end their day in worship and prayer, and interspersed in between are their hours of work and/or study, as well as time for their rest and recreation.
Such mindful use of their hours with nothing put to waste! So much so they have no time to focus too much on the bad and the ugly. Rather, they tend to set their sights on the good, their hearts on God.
Come to think of it, I’ve realized God himself has given us the perfect template for creating pattern and rhythm in our daily life: work and rest and worship.
“For six days, you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God.[…] For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore, the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.” — Exodus 20:8-11
- Worship and Prayer
Wouldn’t it be good to also start your own day with a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to your God, the Creator of the Universe and of all beings? As well as end the day with a prayer or quiet time with Him?
For Christians, worshiping God is His first commandment to us, which He himself spoke to Moses and the people of Israel on Mount Sinai:
“I am the Lord your God […] you shall have no other gods before me.” – Exodus 20: 1-3 (NRSV)
And Jesus too spoke of the same when He was tempted by Satan in the desert:
“Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.” – Matthew 4:10 (NRSV)
For the religious communities I mentioned above, in obedience to God’s divine law to worship Him, these are two verses from the Bible by which they design their daily life:
Psalm 119:164 “Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.” (KJV)
Psalm 119:62 “At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.” (KJV)
So Christians even in the secular world are called upon to worship God — though not exactly in the way religious communities arrange their prayer time. I myself have been doing my best to preserve my own sacred time with God. I wrote about this in my previous post, Create Sacred Time in Daily Life to Attain Calm, Achieve More, and Grow.
As God himself commanded us, so be it, as it is good for our spiritual lives. Worshiping Him is God’s greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your might.” — Deuteronomy 6:5 (NRSV)
Non-Christians also do pray. They have their own special ways to commune with a Higher Being or Deity.
In other words, praying is as basic as the need to eat, sleep, and breathe — to ground oneself, be firm, and grow.
Surely you know how work and study are important for us to grow. Work is the means by which we can make use of our God-given talents, and enables us to provide for ourselves and those entrusted to our care, as well as be of help to the less fortunate.
But what I’m stressing more here is how you make your day more meaningful. How are you maximizing your time? What are you aiming for — being busy or being productive?
Aim to spend each hour of the day in producing results that can lead you closer to your goals. Avoid spending time on needless tasks or activities that will not help you grow — like too much time on social media. Allot time for your continuous learning. “One hour per day of study in your chosen field is all it takes, “ as Earl Nightingale once said.
When we fill our days with meaningful work or activity, we glorify God. And we are safe from the temptation of the evil one, as the popular saying goes, “An idle mind/hands are the devil’s workshop.”
What better way to mark our daily pattern and rhythm with special sounds that can enhance our day than music? I like this definition of music from Wikipedia: “Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time.”
Music as a form of worship and prayer is uplifting, soul-refreshing, unifying us with God. Many consider it the highest form of prayer. And the Bible teems with beautiful hymns and chants we can use for our private or group worship.
Outside the realm of religious rites, music is an invaluable part of our lives. It is one of the most effective ways to express emotions and create mood. And today, more and more people are turning to music as a healing therapy, such as those offered by Breathe & Chill on YouTube: binaural beats, calming sounds of nature. They even have binaural beats for children.
So there, dear reader. If you are already getting fed up by the noise and pain in the world, or yearning to deepen your spirituality, or to gain clearer direction, it is time to re-arrange your daily life with these 3 important elements of worship, work and music. Let go and let God, too, if things are getting too much to bear!
God created the Universe and all in it according to His set design and pattern, so there may be order in the natural word. He gave us His commandments for our own good, that we may lead orderly lives.
God’s perfect template for pattern and rhythm in our daily life: work and rest and worship.