Sometimes our smile comes from our joy, but sometimes our joy can come from our smile. – Thich Nhat Hanh
Editor’s note This is a guest article written by Jonathan Mead of Illuminated Mind.
We spend a lot of time working for the achievement of milestones. Graduations, promotions, raises, and other assortments of accomplishments are considered more valuable than everyday experiences. We work feverishly to make these achievements, but once we reach the top of these mountains, we already have our eyes set on the next peak.
There’s nothing wrong with achieving goals and reaching for new heights. But if we spend most of our time experiencing, rather than achieving, doesn’t it make sense to enjoy everyday experiences as much as possible?
We consider these normal days routine and monotonous. The day you graduated college is more important than a random day in class. Your child’s first steps are monumental compared to her throwing oatmeal at the dog on a Monday morning. Driving your new car for the first time was more exciting then cursing the jerk that cut you off on your commute to work.
If our days are mostly normal, perhaps we should spend more time trying to enjoy the present. Perhaps we should stop looking for happiness in the future and start looking for it in the only place it can happen- now.
To find joy in the present doesn’t mean we abandon our search for a better tomorrow. We simply need to realize…
There Are No Ordinary Moments
We generally think that our happiness is the result of our experience. But what if our experience was the result of our happiness? Just as our joy can come from our smile, our experience can also be the result of our happiness.
We get caught up in routine and we forget that life itself, is a miracle. The fact that you’re sitting here right now reading this article is amazing. But how often do we stop and think about that? Our breathing, seeing, hearing, tasting and touching are all miracles. It’s easy to get caught up in the drama of life and forget this though. These are a few tools I’ve found to help you stay centered in the present and realize there are no ordinary moments.
- The wisdom of uncertainty. Although we can take responsibility for much of our life, many things are beyond our control. We need to have the courage to change the things we can, accept the things we cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference.
- Let go of fear. Fear causes us to worry about the future and pine over the past. When we live fearlessly, we accept our power to create reality. We know that if it is to be, it’s up to me.
- Stay in the present. Nothing that big can come into the present. When our minds are focused on the past and future, we’re living in a place that’s either already gone, or has yet to come. Taking ourselves back to the present allows us to take things as they come. We’ll also be more effective and accomplish with less effort, because we’re only responding to what is now.
- Acceptance. Whatever is here in the present, accept it. There’s no point in worrying about what already is. When we don’t accept life as it is right now, we’re struggling against reality. Who do you thinks going to win, you or the universe? We can still have desires for the future, but by accepting life as it is, we are no longer struggling against it. We are working with it.
- Suspend judgment. When we judge things, we’re living completely in our head. Judgment may be a part of life, but life itself is beyond judgment. We have many concepts in our mind about reality, but reality itself is not a concept. When we suspend judgment, we can see things for what they are and experience life authentically.
If we can realize the miracle of life in each moment, we can start living, instead of preparing to live.
We can see that every movement is a dance. In every thought there is a story. In every color there is a song.