I’m here to talk about the rhythms of life today. But to that, you need to listen to this.
It’s the sound of a human heartbeat.
Quite compelling isn’t it? It isn’t actually a long video, but to me it seems like it went on for a long time. It’s a sound which levels us, which makes us all equal. It makes you think about what’s really important.
The reason for that is that our whole lives are dependent on our heartbeat. Without it, we wouldn’t be alive, when it stops, we die. Its that simple. It has a healthy, optimum rate it needs to be at as well, when it’s too fast – or too slow – then its not so healthy, and can end up causing health problems. If we push it too much then it will give up under stress. If we have bad diet it clogs up the arteries around it and stops it working.
At it’s core though, it’s a rhthym. It’s regular, it’s steady, it’s not random. It’s a regular pattern, at the core of very life itself. Our entire physical life force comes through it
and how we live our lives can, paradoxically, impact this rhythm.
You see, rhythm is at the core of who we are.
We all have a rhythm to our lives, and it’s not just on this basic physical level. We have a pattern, a routine, which is governed by the choices we make, what we ground our lives on and the world we live in – but ultimately we choose that rhythm – maybe on a subconscious level, sometimes on a conscious level, but we choose it. The rhythm we choose for our lives can easily impact the rhythm of the muscle that provides us with life. That’s why stress and anxiety can cause heart attacks – because they speed up our heart to the point where it can’t go on – and in our secular, consumer culture, where the pace of life is just getting quicker and quicker and the demands on us constantly increasing, it’s no surprise that cases of stress and anxiety, and the number of apparently healthy people suffering heart attacks, is increasing.
A lot of people think that we don’t have any control of the rhythm of our lives. People seem to accept we live in a consumer world, and we have to put up with it. We can deal with it or move on. Secularism itself encourages this idea, that it’s just how things are and we need to fit everything else into it.
But actually, we have a choice.
We do live in that secular consumer world – but we don’t have to let it define us.
There is an alternative. There is a different way.
There’s always a different way.
We have another type of ‘heartbeat’ that governs how we live. Our worldview, what we’re grounded in, what defines us and motivates us, our belief system – some might call it our ‘religion’. In many ways it’s just as much a heartbeat as our physical heartbeat, and it shapes our life in the same fundamental way. It defines how we see the world, dictates our values, regulates the decisions we make and ultimately what we do, and it defines the pace of our lives – and the pace of our physical heartbeat. Everyone has one, even those who say they don’t have a religion or a god of any kind have their fundamental values grounded in something, and it’s that the defines their value system and ultimately the rhythm of their lives.
In the West we live in a culture which is ruled by the secular/consumer religion, and many of us don’t even realise it. But it defines how we see the world, our routine, how we treat people and our values. It’s all around us all the time. We get fed messages all around us all the time about what life’s about – in the West on average you are exposed to around 3000 adverts per day – and secularism says it’s all about you.
Take care of yourself and do what’s best for you, and everything and everyone else comes second.
Do what’s best for you.
If you want to have religious belief, that’s fine, just keep it private so it doesn’t intrude on anyone else.
If it feels good, do it.
Everyone is in a rush all the time – I see it every day on the tube on the way to work – almost competing with each other, like we’re all in this race to be the best we can, to beat everyone else, to get as much as we can for ourselves and once we’ve done that and we’re happy, then we can worry about everyone else. Survival of the fittest, charity for the weakest if they’re lucky. Work as hard as you can to do as best you can for yourself, because no one else will help you. Consume and possess as much as you can possibly get, and don’t worry about anyone else.
Sounds great doesn’t it?
I really don’t believe that way works. Deep down, I think a lot of us don’t really think it works. But many don’t believe there is an alternative. We assume that’s just ‘how things are’.
I think there is an alternative. That’s what I’ll be trying to explore here in the coming year, and in particular in my book. I think there is a better way to live, a way that’s more in tune with how we were designed to live, a way that is better for our souls and for our bodies. I believe there is a way to live which allows us to live within the restrictions of a consumer society, but not allow ourselves to be defined or ruled by them, but thought it may begin that way I believe this way may ultimately be able to expose secularism and eventually redefine our culture to a different set of values.
However, it’s not simple, and it’s not easy.
I know for me I work in a secular job in London, so to even start trying to live differently is going to involve a lot of work, and discovering what this new way of living looks like and then actually living it out in practice is going to be a tough job.
You see, I believe this involves fundamentally changing the rhythm of our lives. Almost ‘stopping’ or ‘dying’ to our current way of living, sitting down and starting to restructure our lives differently, and starting again – one might even call it being ‘born again’ (believe me, I find it as amazing as anyone that these phrases are so relevant in this context – when I originally came up with this concept I had no idea how those well-known phrases might be relevant).
I ultimately want to try and explore what it means to fit my life around my faith, rather than the other way round as we so often do. I believe that way of life will leave us with more energy, with a better perspective on life, a closer relationship with God, better relationships with one another and a more fulfilled life, a life worth talking about, a life of purpose with genuine hope.
It’s really up to us. Do we just want to go on living according to the rhythm we’re told we should live by and are encouraged to live by, which can cause so many problems.
Or do we look to something better?
What rhythm is your life currently defined by?
If you’re a Christian, do you fit your life round your faith – or your faith around your life?
Do you believe there is a better rhythm to life than the rhythm you’re living right now? If so, why aren’t you living it?
What kind of rhythm do you want your heart to beat to? What can you do to change your rhythm?
Hi, I’m James and I’m a writer. I’m interested in exploring digital media & our divine journey, and aside from blogging here at JamesPrescott.co.uk I’m a regular guest blogger at bigbible.org and other sites. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and for bonus material subscribe to my blog/newsletter here