Our life situations have become chaotic. There is so much vying for our attention at any given moment from our partners, children, extended families, friends, bosses, work colleagues, email, social media, our smart phones, daily chores, meal planning, clothes shopping, entertainment, vacation planning and the myriad of other things that occupy our time.
I’m surprised that more people do not suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder which is all too common a diagnosis in our children. I believe that our fast-paced and distracted society is a major factor behind the increased diagnosis of ADHD.
The issue is that we are too busy looking for the next moment to enjoy the current one. This is where the problem lies. We miss he beauty of the current moment and do not experience the depth of the moment. What do I mean by the depth of the moment?
This can be best described by visualizing being in a natural setting. Imagine that you are in the middle of a forest. Now picture what you would see, hear, smell and touch in such a place. You may see a sunny sky with some scattered clouds. You may see some birds flying overhead. You may catch a glimpse of some wildlife such as chipmunks and squirrels and, if you’re near a river, muskrats, otters and beavers. You may hear the wind blowing through the leaves in the trees around you, the beautiful sounds of songbirds, the sound of a squirrel rustling through the leaves or the screech of a raven or an owl. You may smell the fragrance of flowers or the scent of a nearby skunk. If you are barefoot, you may feel the various textures of the ground below your feet or the grass as it cushions your feet.
You can see that in nature, there is so much depth that can be experienced in any given moment. What happens when we leave nature and enter modern society, we lose the sense of this depth because we become so busy just trying to get our daily tasks done and just keep our head above water.
What if we were to change our focus from the final goal or task completion to the journey that takes us there? How would this change our experience of life? This would make the journey, not the final destination, the point of our lives as it was always meant to be.
You see, when you are focused on the end point instead of the path that you need to take to get there, you completely ignore the path and all the beauty, knowledge and wisdom that can be gained from the journey. You miss out on so much because you are solely focused on on the final destination.
The problem with this is that once you achieve the goal you were chasing, you need to now find the next goal to achieve. This cycle continues and, although it may lead you to what you were seeking in the first place, it leaves a feeling of emptiness inside because the final goal often is not everything we made it out to be.
Relationships can go stale, money comes and goes and eventually our health will fade as we approach the end of our lives. So no matter what you have achieved, it is usually fleeing in nature. This is why we must cultivate the depth of every moment of our lives, not just the end points, otherwise we miss out on the point of living in the first place.
In my next blog, I will discuss how to excavate and cultivate the depth in every moment of your life.
Nauman Naeem MD