"The most accurate thing that can be said about me is that I am 'changeable.' So are you," writes David K. Reynolds, the founder of Constructive Living and the author of Light Waves and many other books. He developed this program from the work of a Japanese psychiatrist named Morita and added some of his own ideas to make it more understandable to Westerners. Throughout this salutary book, he offers maxims and anecdotes to illustrate how to become skillful at living moment by moment. He also outlines specific exercises for you to try to ground the practice in your daily experiences.
The apostle Paul knew in is heart that he was a changeable character. That is why he admitted learning to adapt himself to any kind of circumstance, even prison. Constructive living involves this kind of flexibility. It means taking whatever happens to us with full attention. When pain arrives at our door, we take it in. When grief arrives, realize she can teach us a thing or two. We just deal with the emotions of fear, anxiety, and resentment as they rumble through our consciousness. As Reynolds puts it in one of the maxims: "Unpleasant doesn't mean bad." It can draw out constructive possibilities.
Reynolds states that the most peaceful people he knows are those who have given themselves away, whereas the most miserable people are those who are totally wrapped up in themselves. Here the author agrees with Christians and Buddhists who emphasize the link between self-centeredness and suffering. In one of the most comprehensive chapters in the book, Reynolds covers what to do about life's rough times with bits on failure, shyness, depression, chronic pain, and lack of energy.
"Every moment is a fresh one" is another Constructive Living maxim. We are responsible for what we make of the moment and sadly enough, even though our intentions might be commendable, we can't make anyone else feel good. We especially like Reynolds' view of time: "There is always just enough time to do what needs to be done."