Explorer Henry Worsley, 55, died after developing a serious infection as he tried to cross Antarctica unaided.1 Mr. Worsley was trying to complete the unfinished journey of his hero, Sir Ernest Shackelford., 100 years later. Worsley died in pursuit of his greatest happiness. His intentions and his activities were perfectly aligned.
In a 2004 article in the Journal Science, a team of scholars surveyed a group of women to compare how much satisfaction they derived from their daily activities. The women reported deriving more satisfaction from prayer, worship and mediation than from watching television. Yet, the average respondent spent more than five times as long watching TV as engaging in spiritual activities.
The American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2014 the average American adult spent four times longer watching television than “socializing and communicating”, and 20 times longer on TV than on “religious and spiritual activities.” 2
In a recent article, Arthur C. Brooks makes the point that most people suffer from misalignment. This misalignment exists between the activities we really derive meaning from as compared to the activities we actually perform. We mindlessly waste the present moment on low value activities.
Brooks suggests that an answer to this problem is to find a systematic way to raise the scarcity of time to our consciousness. He suggests that meditation on death makes us aware of the transitory nature of our physical lives and stimulates realignment between momentary desires and existential goals.
As a family law attorney, I see one consequence of dissolution of marriage: it can create an avenue for the realignment of a person’s life.
1 “Explorer Henry Worsley dies attempting Antarctic crossing.” January 25, 2016. BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-35398552.