So, what are the riches in life and how do we celebrate them?

So, what are the riches in life and how do we celebrate them?

Most would agree that one of the most important riches in life is vibrant health. For sure, we all have genetic predispositions that create tendencies or potentialities that our grandparents and parents presented to us through our cumulative gene pool.

If our gene pool is one with longevity, then that is what we are expecting for our life. But, whether we bring this to reality depends on how we conduct our daily lives. If we are preoccupied with negative past or future experiences, our food choices are centered around junk food with an overabundance of sugar, and our relationships are controlled by the ego. Then we have a limited chance of duplicating our parents' or grandparents' longevity.

So, we enhance our probability of this longevity by giving our bodies high-quality organic food with an abundance of fruit and vegetables and pure water. Add a balanced exercise routine three or four times a week maintains our muscle tone, flexibility and balance as we age.

While good food and exercise are fundamental riches in life, functional relationships are also essential. It matters not what one's sexual orientation is, but whether both parties are truly conscious. What does this really mean? Simply put, is the relationship controlled by perpetual egoistic reactivity or is there a movement or progression where there is a gentle but very observing alertness to the ego's attempt to pull you or your partner into drama and conflict?

By practicing this watchfulness without making it a stressful discipline, you and your partner will begin to experience increasing moments in your relationship that I would call agape love. Gently catching or observing our or our beloved's ego becomes more frequent, but without any of what I would call spiritual one-upmanship. Our becoming more and more conscious results in there being no need to make comments about "your ego is grabbing you." Instead, you will find yourself practicing unconditional or selfless love. Instead of being what Eric Fromm ("Art of Loving") describes as being preoccupied with receiving love, your focus becomes giving or helping your partner.

How does this simple watchfulness or attentiveness work as we interact with our beloved? You begin by setting an easily realizable goal of catching yourself once or twice each day beginning to slip into the ever-present ego's beckoning to be in conflict or drama of the past or the future. So, our days begin have fewer and fewer mutual egos bursting reactivity. You must believe that it is possible to become more conscious or saner in your relationships. Be forewarned that you may still fall in the one-upmanship trap of pointing out each other's ego reactions. But, persevere and amazingly there arises a refreshing honesty, calmness, stillness where there is a deep spiritual communion without mental analysis.

For sure, vibrant health and true conscious or sane relationships are profound key riches in celebrating life. But, learn to be in this world, but essentially not part of it. Forms or material possessions are tools that, as we live more and more consciously, we lose our identification or attachment to.

In summary, these fundamental riches are vibrant health, egoless, conscious relationships with balanced detachment to the material world. Lin Yutang, in his book, "The Importance of Living," succinctly summarized this true celebration of life — "materiality without debauchery; spirituality without asceticism."

Jim Hawes, a retired Medford school teacher has published "Ageless Child," Balboa Press, and is working on his second book, "Consciously Growing Older."

The Ashland Daily Tidings invites residents of the Rogue Valley to submit articles on inner peace. Send 600- to 700-word articles to Sally McKirgan,