Just a Thought – 3 Meditations on the Good Life | June 2024

1. A Wish

“Every day I wake up and smile,
Twenty four hours lie ahead of me.
I vow to live each moment fully
And look at all beings with compassionate eyes.”

— Thich Nhat Hanh

The words, aspiration and sentiment of this late Vietnamese Zen master and global spiritual leader are a favourite daily meditation of mine – just 4 lines, seemingly so simple, and yet embracing such a profound aspiration at the beginning of each day of how to live each day.

The “smile” of wonder and joy; the anticipation and disbelief of yet another miraculous “twenty four hours” of life; the commitment to “each moment” in the present and to the utmost extent; and finally the desire to live as a decent loving human being with “compassionate eyes”. That’s pretty much a summation of the entire self help library of mindfulness and the key ethos of almost all religions and philosophies in a nutshell.  “All you need is love” indeed.

2. A Prayer

“May I be safe and free from suffering
May I be as happy and healthy as it is possible for me to be
May I have ease of being”

— Mark Williams and Danny Penman

These lines are from an audio meditation given by Professor Mark Williams from his book – “Mindfulness – A Practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world.” It is repeated by extending this “prayer” to include family, then friends…and finally everyone. Again, this meditation for me underlines our common humanity and encapsulates every key component that is vital to provide each of us with a quality of life. You are truly blessed if all these aspects of your life are working well.

As the comedian Dave Allen used to say “may your god go with you.”

3.   A Song

“Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way”

— Mars Bonfire (writer) / Steppenwolf (artist)
(Listen on Spotify)

I remember hearing this song for the first time as a child (1968). Even ignoring for a moment the brilliant opening, as the power chords trip over the opening drum fill, followed by the giant snarling vocal of John Kay – those first 4 lines of the lyric just hit me as the essence of what I wanted my life to be and I think what every one of our lives should be. Yessiree – “born to be wild.” Reading more about the song just now, the songwriter said that he was inspired walking down Hollywood Boulevard seeing a poster of a motorcycle in a window saying “Born to Ride” – giving him that feeling of freedom and joy. And who could argue with that. This is a meditation for living:

“Like a true nature’s child
We were born, born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never wanna die”