Remember the world when you were young? It looked so beautiful, everything looked a little more colorful, every sound a little more delightful, every event a little more eventful…
As we grow older, the beauty and wonder that we see in the world seem to disappear, in its place, we find stress and continuous thinking about the next promotion, increased profit, the new car, etc. We no longer feel the majestic sunshine on our skin, the passions of teenage romances seem to have been watered away, the chirping sounds of birds and majesty of the tallest tree in our neighborhood no longer excites any emotion within us or perhaps even register in our consciousness.
Life feels less alive and more mechanical. Many among us feel that this is the natural state of man itself, that as we grow older, the burden of responsibilities and cares of the world around us force us to live such a life. Indeed, for many of us born in unfortunate circumstances in unfortunate lands, the stress of even procuring the basic needs of life may force such a life on them, sometimes sadly well before adulthood.
But for most of you reading this, such is not true. Most of us, including me, were born in fortunate circumstances or in countries where the economic situation is not as dire as in many others around the world. For most of us, this way of life is not forced upon us but self-inflicted upon us by ourselves.
We live like dim bulbs, never completely focusing enough on the problems at hand to arrive at a satisfactory and quick decision that we can implement quickly nor being unfocused enough to truly enjoy the majority of our life. Decisions on most problems, excluding very few, do not take up much time, one can easily come to most decisions within at most 1 hour if the concentrated and singular focus is applied to the problem facing the individual.
Yet we procrastinate and stress ourselves on these same decisions for days and weeks, not only destroying the joy in our lives but also impeding our effectiveness in solving the issue.
I have often noticed that after returning to my daily life after a meditation session longer than 30 minutes where I spend the first half thinking about any new problems in my life with a singular focus and the other half on mindfulness, the colors in the surrounding world actually appear darker and sharper or perhaps…. It was the first time in a while that I actually looked carefully, without thinking about anything else.
Life seemed to regain the beauty that we saw in it in childhood, one could once again feel the sweet taste of water, the majesty of trees, the freshness of sunlight, the delight of the presence of a loved one …. One could feel it all again.
These passions have not died within us nor had we outgrown them in growing up, they were well there waiting for us while we searched the world, taking up stresses to feel beauty, joy, and delight. Perhaps the answer was to stop searching and see what we already have and what we are.