As I stepped into the shower this morning, I was completely in awe of the sheer perfection of the sensation produced by every single droplet of water pulsating the surface of my skin.
I inhaled a lung full of steam and grinned from ear to ear as I experienced nothing but pure enjoyment in that moment, and I thought to myself how lucky I was to be living.
When I say living, I don’t mean in the sense of my heart beating, my neural networks firing, or the particles that compose my cells vibrating. Just the mindfulness that led me to be aware of my senses and of the moment I was in.
That’s what we live for, right? Linear time; the moments.
So many of us rush through life. We hurry to get ready for work, and despise the clock as we wait to go home.
We look towards a future time of some grand experience such as a vacation or holiday. A consumer-filled celebration of activity, noise, treats, and the whole 9 yards.
But even then we are robbed, racing the clock, worrying about what is to come in the next hour or even in the next year.
So when exactly are we living, or more specifically, when are we being? That’s right, you guessed it – we are human beings, not human doings.
How can we keep this at the forefront of our minds with so much going on around us in our personal lives and society?
Mindfulness can truly be elusive, and at times it may seem impossible to find. But the trick I have discovered is so incredibly easy to adopt, and the best part is that it will change the way you experience life.
As Henry David Thoreau wrote, “It’s not what you look at, but what you see.” The secret is merely knowledge, and knowledge changes perception.
We can look at an infant who has been nowhere other than cradled upon their mother’s chest since birth, and when a strange face appears to them, they are frightened.
It’s because this new face is unknown. But as the child learns of the face, so changes its perception of what that face means.
The only thing we fear is the unknown and uncertainty. And it is fear alone that drives us to worry about what is to come, and keeps us dwelling in the regrets and sorrows of the past.
We are all here on Earth for one simple reason, to learn. We come into this world as a blank slate, and throughout life, we constantly interpret and analyze information from the day we are born until the day we die.
These bits of information come from the families we are born into, the schools we attend, and the friends and company we choose to keep. It all adds into and builds upon experiences that ultimately shape our reality, the ideas we have, and the things we choose to contemplate.
When we look back upon how these experiences affect our lives with different perspectives we may gather over time, a pattern begins to emerge. This leads to me to believe that the secret to living, or to be more accurate, being; is simply to learn.
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Now you may ask, “If it’s so simple, why is there so much misery in the world?”
I’m here to tell you that those who are unhappy are only so because they are narrow-minded. Fixed in the creation of their own subjective reality, set in their ways and terrified to objectively evaluate an idea that isn’t in alignment with what they believe to be true.
But this limiting perspective is nothing more than a constraint. When we hear phrases like “open your mind,” it’s about questioning everything.
I learned this very thing, put into different terms at the time, from Dr. Neil DeGrass Tyson. It was something he said that struck me to my soul when I began to learn about the scientific method.
What I learned then was that consciousness and contemplation are key. They are all you need to live fully in every moment of life, and by doing so, you will be propelled forward throughout your journey.
Burdens seem to lighten and solutions to problems we are faced with come clearly into alignment with our goals.
This is the same outlook and approach that philosophers Aristotle and Socrates practiced. Socrates stated: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
But, if we do not bring new and valuable information into our lives, what is there exactly worth examining?
Every decision we make is nothing more than a lesson to be learned, and every new piece of information adds possibilities to our future and what we are capable of creating. These two keys are the very essence of existence.
And it is up to each and every individual to determine what is to be done with those tools to fully see the beauty of the human experience.
At the end of the day, when we are all alone in the manifestations of our thoughts, when we go within and look at ourselves, we see how overrated “normal” really is. It is a lie and an illusion of reality.
We are creating our own worldly experience, that’s what we are here for; to be, and to discover ourselves.
Why would you want your life experience to be like anyone else’s?
So think freely, don’t wait on any particular person, group, or role in society to tell you how to be, what program to watch, what book to read, or what to believe.
Do what brings you untarnished joy. Look to something or someone that inspires you. You will discover a point in time where a path begins to emerge.
Not only will you learn of a new world to replace the stuffy version of it that you held before, but you will learn exponentially of yourself, and that is where the true magic of mindfulness really is.
You are your only limiting factor.