Living a Horizontal and Vertical Life | #MyFridayStory No. 130

Living a Horizontal and Vertical Life | #MyFridayStory No. 130

It seems we live a life of tension between living a horizontal and vertical life.

There comes a time in life where we realise the world is not only what we can see and touch, that there is more. There is more to the life we live here on earth, the horizontal life. It’s the one we experience physically, in the body. But we have a spiritual existence, one in touch with our Maker. 

The vertical life.

The dichotomy exists between wanting to do what is right and denying what is wrong. This tension is as old as human existence itself. Adam and Eve were the first to discover how difficult it is to reconcile our worldly desires with those of our Maker. It is also well documented how many ancient philosophers and scholars experienced the same angst.

We all desire to have nice things and live a happy comfortable life. It’s only after you have passed the Halfway mark of your life, that you realise what you should treasure. You are happier with less. You no longer desire to own anything more than what you need.

Does that mean you have lost your ambition, your drive to succeed, your desire to win?

If winning is at any cost to my peace and happiness, then “Yes.” I no longer wish to “get ahead” of anyone else. My awareness of how privileged I am, to have what I’ve got, to be where I am, creates space for humility and gratefulness.

Try your best to be a blessing wherever you go, you’ll be surprised how many people are a blessing to you. Don’t be a Grinch. Be generous with everything you have been blessed with, not only material, but your talents, skills, knowledge, experience – share for no other reason but because it’s a nice thing to do.

I was once a young man who was setting out into the world, wanting to make his dent on the universe. I was full of ambition and drive to be a success. I knew what the necessary sacrifices were and I was happy to make them.

As a young civil engineering student, I was doing field work out in the middle of nowhere with my boss, a seasoned civil engineer. We’d been up before dawn to be out in the field as the sun rises. The sooner we finish the work, the sooner we could be back at the office. But, as lunchtime approached, my boss said we should take a break. I couldn’t understand taking a lunch break when we could finish the work and get back to the office?

I remember thinking he has no ambition.

Taking a break to sit under a tree on a hot summer day to eat your sandwiches, speaks to living a vertical life. One that understands the needs of the world and doing what is necessary and responsible, but is in tune with what the soul needs.

To be inwardly happy is a daily tussle between living a horizontal and vertical life. The struggle is real and you are not alone. Accepting that the tension is necessary allows you to adjust your aim. And aiming to keep a balance will alert you when you start leaning too far towards horizontal.

So, as the famous DJ Casey Kasem of the American Top 40 used to say at the end of his show:

“Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

Have an awesome weekend, stay home, stay safe! 😄

Thanks for reading, I appreciate it tremendously 🙏

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