DLW is an occasional blog about how people spend the time of their lives (every moment) to enable health, balance, meaning and fulfillment. As a blogspot about doing, it draws from personal stories and from studies of everyday living. It's main idea is that to be well, people must be involved fully in what they do. The activities that occupy our days help to connect us to the world, define who we are, and keep us healthy.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

More Thoughts on Attention, Gratitude, and Happiness

Recent posts have concerned the importance of truly attending to what we are doing, appreciating its beauty and benefit, and recognizing how fortunate we are to be experiencing each moment. We acknowledged that doing this is not easy for many people, because our minds are constantly bombarded with stimuli, we have too much to do, and the preoccupation of what has or will happen creates a detour for what is happening right now.

How many of us have done a routine, such as dressing, or even driving to work, and finding that we are unable to recall any of the actual details of going through that routine? It's as though our minds were on automatic pilot. We were concerned about the budget, the important upcoming meeting, or the argument we had with our boss. How many people, during those lulls of inattention, forget to notice the dog crossing the street, or the stop sign? Sadly, this occurs on occasion with life altering and tragic consequences.

Yet, those outcomes, as rare,dramatic, and often tragic as they are; are arguably no more problematic than a life gone by and missed through inattention. It is sometimes said that we never fully appreciate what we have, until we lose it. Part of the reason for this, it seems, is that we are not fully experiencing and appreciating what we have. We too soon accommodate to comfort, and in doing so we focus on what we imagine might be missing to make the moment more complete.

A friend shared a humorous clip recorded from the Conan late night show. Although the humorist shown in the clip pokes fun at how blasé we have become in the face of 21st Century hyperchange, he makes an important point about appreciation and gratitude. You can see the clip here.

If we define each moment as the perfect experience that it is, concerns seem to evaporate. This is a principle of Taoism; namely, if we accept what comes to us and experience it without comparing it to another condition or state, we are not evaluative, we simply are, in our all too short, wonderful state of being. By doing so, we create the conditions for happiness at all times.

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About Me

I am a writer, lifelong student, former academic and new blogger. My passion continues to be everyday living. I am interested in what people do, how, when and why they do it, and what it means for their their understanding of the world and hence, their well being.