Life throws a lot at people, and it starts immediately. As we grow and learn, it’s amazing how much we soak up like sponges and grasp. We learn what to do, what not to do. What to say and not say. What evokes a positive response and a negative response. Things that hurt and heal. Anger and soothe. Good and bad.
As we grow and progress, we get a lot of conflicting information, guidance and instruction. Opinions are plentiful and everyone has different ideas about dos and don’ts. Eventually, whether by trial and error, trial by fire, or by stumbling onto a less traumatic path, we get it. We learn to assign weight to what is important and what isn’t.
Often, especially early on, we deem everything important. But with experience and exposure, the weight we give to specific things changes.
Earlier in life much attention is on building the life we want. We get into our heads a vision of success, and we set out to manifest it. (It’s worthy of mention that our vision of success changes as we do.) Our changes might be voluntary—we decide something is or is not working for us—or involuntary. Something happens and we’re forced to change, whether or not we want to change.
The point is, that during different phases of our lives, we assign different values to what really matters. And in the latter stages, we often look back at earlier ones and wonder why we thought then that what we sought mattered. In our current circumstance, it doesn’t. But when it happened, it was—at least, to us back then. That’s a lesson to us.
We can’t view our personal history of what is really important from this new phase of our lives. We need to view our personal history of what was really important from the phase in which we experienced it. In that way, we are like our nation. We look back at history a hundred years ago, or two hundred years ago, and we cringe at some of the things we find. Things we would never consider acceptable today. But in the context of that time, we see those things were where the nation was then. Collectively, we learned, we grew, we evolved and we changed.
We do that in our personal lives, too. And just as we would be foolish to forget the lessons of our nation’s past (and doom ourselves to needing to learn those lessons again), we would be foolish to forget our personal past lessons. We endured the rough patches once. We don’t want to have to repeat them.
What really matters is that we continue to learn and grow. We never reach a phase in life where we stop learning and growing and evolving. Our priorities shift and change. What really matters to us shifts and changes, too.
As the phases advance, we place less importance on the physical, we’re more balanced on the emotional, and we focus more intently on the spiritual. We understand the circle of life and that eternity lasts far longer than the blink in time we spend as mortals. That every second of life is a gift and a treasure. That the soul is eternal and requires care as much as the physical body requires care.
Wisdom encourages us to respect all phases of our lives. To grasp early that the spiritual aspect of ourselves is the phase that will govern us long-term. While what we do in each phase of life matters and is important, it is the sum of all phases that brings us to the one that will have the greatest and most significant impact in our lives.
Because that is so, we dare not wait for that spiritual phase to incorporate the spiritual into our lives. In every phase, we should deliberately consider the physical, emotional and spiritual impact of what we say and do.
All three intertwine to become the whole that is us. All three play a vital role in who we were, are, and who we become. And all three are important. Knowing that, understanding that, is what really matters.