There is much confusion about what it means to live “one day at a time”. Obviously, this cannot include a failure to plan for the future or to “eat, drink and be merry” with no thought of tomorrow. To do so would be utter foolishness and would feed the very addiction from which one
Many view this famous Twelve Step axiom as looking at their journey toward recovery in bite sized increments. This becomes an anchor with which the recovering addict practices Simplicity and sticks to the basics. As one grows and develops, however, this axiom should begin to take on new meaning.
Eastern religion and world view provides more insight into this basic principle. In the movie, The Last Samurai, Captain Nathan Algren is captured while training Japanese soldiers to fight against the Samurai, who are fierce, principled warriors. During his captivity, he learns their culture and philosophy and is impressed by their dedication, daily discipline and Serenity. In surrendering to their way of life, Algren is liberated from his own struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Alcoholism. In his journal, he remarks that the Samurai strive to master every thing they do and live in dedication to a set of moral principles. Herein lies the secret of Simplicity.
Simplicity is the key to Fulfillment. Positive virtues and principles are interconnected, as well as Negative. Often the acquisition of one virtue leads to enlightenment and the automatic acquisition of other virtues. Simplicity is a basic component of Diligence, Success, Peace and Fulfillment. In fact, it is so basic that it cannot be defined as a virtue, but more as a value. It is an essential component in every action, virtue and principle. In order to experience true physical, emotional and spiritual health, one must embrace the value of Simplicity, for this value leads to the real, the natural and the authentic.
“Mastering” a particular discipline, understanding or principle is not an attempt to exert control or dominance over it. Rather, it is a type of Surrender. One must accept the laws and principles in which something operates in order to gain complete understanding. Remember, understanding includes both intellectual and experiential knowledge. Experiential knowledge is acquired through the application of Faith, not intellect. In order to “Master” a particular art or discipline, one must give him or herself completely to it, or in other words, Surrender! As in the case of learning a language, for example, this will be a long journey, one which must begin with one step. Each day must be filled with Dedication, Patience and Diligence and one’s attention must be focused. The journey may branch off and include other disciplines but it always continues one step at a time.
Regardless of how long the journey takes, the goal remains constant; mastery. Positive energy always moves toward completion and wholeness. The words “Peace” and “Integrity” both include the concept of wholeness. One perseveres to come into unity with the art or discipline which he is studying. The sense of ownership one acquires is derived from cooperation and surrender to the principles and attributes he observes. Humility is always at the heart of true learning. The Samurai’s sword, for example, is seen as an extension of himself. He treats it with great respect and deference. While he may “own” the sword, he surrenders to its power, balance and attributes. The same is true with every other discipline which he may need to acquire.
During the course of a day, not only must one maintain focus, but he must also strive to maintain Balance. In the movie, The Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi continues to remind his young pupil ”don’t forget to breathe”. He also goes to great lengths to teach his apprentice the art of balance, often employing unique methods and techniques (experiential knowledge). Harmony is a Principle of the Positive realm which must also be acknowledged. Often, when one undertakes an art or discipline, he may be accused of being obsessed or addicted to his passion. Obsession is a negative state. It occurs when one is out of balance with other aspects of his life. Physical, spiritual and emotional health may be neglected in the course of surrendering to a new experience. Every area of Life must be given its proper balance in order to maintain harmony and health.
To live “one day at a time” is to embrace life in its fullness. It is to seek the knowledge of everything surrounding a person with hunger and thirst. It is a total surrender to Life and everything contained therein. It is also a dedication to the principles of Life; Truth, Justice, Liberty, Peace, Serenity, Success, Victory and such. One seeks to live within these principles because in them is the true essence of Life itself. This is not a victimized stance, rather it is a conquering one.
This is the essence of Simplicity. It is the art of acquiring Knowledge regarding one’s environment through Humility and Surrender. It is having the goal of “mastering” one’s life employing both intellectual and experiential knowledge. It is a relentless pursuit of Truth, Liberty and Life, seizing the day and becoming totally and completely aware and awake! In this state, one will be completely removed from the realm of Addiction and Death and become intent on Life and Health.