It is natural for most humans to seek to improve their quality of life. We each spend notable energy in this search for the Holy Grail. Individuals go about looking for “security” many different ways. It is natural for people to desire a “comfort zone” in life. To reach that quality of life standard, there are certain conditions to address. First, you must each be able to define this goal. What does quality of life mean for you? It is impossible to search for the Holy Grail if it is undefined. Quality of life is unique to each person. You-and only you-can define it. Can you clearly articulate your quality of life goal at this moment? Most people can at least say whether they feel secure, healthy, and happy. Things happen to you in life and that can disturb your equilibrium. That is why it is imperative to understand the nature of your Holy Grail. Everyone’s journey towards this quality of life is similar to a “road trip”. You need to have a destination, even if it is only a holiday drive; you at least need a direction. During the trip, you may need maps, timetables, fuel, etc. Reaching a destination can happen by following one of many different roads. Your personal journeys are no exception. As you approach different forks in the road, you must choose a path, which moves you closer to your goals. These goals are the meaning of human existence. In essence, they represent your quality of life-your Holy Grail. It is your Jazz of the Spirit!
If we define “quality” as owning material things, we will be disappointed. To seek and covet material things can leave you feeling empty and wanting more. No matter who we are and how much we possess, these substances can disappear. So if you have based your goals solely on getting material things, and then you lose them, you have not only lost the objects for which you searched, but also the energy expended in amassing these furnishings. Eventually death will not allow us to keep any material accumulations. It is important to view material things as furnishings, mere accruements to what matters. It is unrealistic to avoid the material things of life, but we must keep their value in perspective.
My own personal experience, one that viscerally makes this point clear, is my own illness. I will share the details in the next chapter, but at the height of my professional career, I was the victim of a serious medical condition. For over a year, after consulting many doctors, I was unable to get a diagnosis. Losing concentration, passing out, and suffering repeated episodes of severe pain left me dysfunctional. Finally, a diagnosis provided the path for restoring my health. At the time, all medical tests suggested that I had about two years to live. The prognosis was not all the bad news. My family and I lost most of our material possessions. What we had gained were enormous medical bills and a bleak future. Thanks to my family, we started over, looked to the future with hope and within the two-year period, I was able to reverse the condition.
Quality of life depends on the values we place on our actions and the actions of those around us. None of us can foresee the length of life, but we can all control the quality of it. The Greeks have a unique way of expressing ideas by using words. To explain the concept of time, for example, there are two different meanings. Chronos expresses time in units, such as hours. Kairos expresses time as a “time of grace”, a time of opportunity. We must focus on the opportunities rather than the hours of our lives-Kairos rather than Chronos. Moreover, to do this, you must be free of the obstacles that keep you from being comfortable with yourself. We have models that define the way we see the world and they determine how we react to life’s events.