What Jars You to Attention?

I sit silently on my meditation cushion. A pleasant breeze drifts through the window. The sun casts a soft, orange light upon the eastern sky. All is still.

Then the smoke alarm goes off. It jars me to attention.

For a moment, I’m annoyed.

I mean, what is this stupid alarm doing interrupting the silence of the morning. I can’t smell any smoke — and my wife isn’t calling me to leave because of a fire. So why does this alarm have to interrupt me. Doesn’t it know this is my time to meditate?

It doesn’t take long to realize how ridiculous I’m being.

After all, that smoke detector is really useful. Sure, this time there isn’t a fire (thankfully). But what if there had been? What if I’d left a pan on the stove and forgotten it (heaven knows how many times I’ve done that)? What if another unit in our building had gone up in flames?

You can be sure I’d want to know. I’d want that alarm to jar me to attention… to alert me of what’s important.

I wonder though…

What Other Alarms in Life Remind Me What’s Important?

It’s so easy to grow complacent. I forget that the time I have now is precious. And I lose sight of what is really important to me – gifts like friends, family, and meaningful work.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an alarm to regularly wake me up. Something to jar me to attention. Something to remind me what’s important.

So I’ve been trying to create more of those “alarms” in my life.

Sometimes it’s people… people who care enough to check in with me and ask how I’m really doing.

Sometimes it’s a book I read… a piece of wisdom that calls me to greatness.

And sometimes… it’s simply the sight of the beautiful sunrise on a still and peaceful morning.

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What about you? What reminds you of what’s important? Let us know in the comments.

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