Happiness as an act of awareness
Where is your attention?
We live in a world where there are a hundred things competing for our attention at any one time; shop windows, smartphones, digital games, road signs, information displays, lists of things to remember, thoughts of the past or future – an endless stream of activity flowing between the physical world and the online world. Our attention is pulled along in a never ending stream of thoughts apparently bubbling out of nowhere with no control.
Industries have grown up around the notion of ‘me time’ and ‘self-care’ responding to the sense that if we don’t ring fence time to pay attention to our inner needs, we will lose ourselves in all these distractions. It’s no coincidence that there is an increase in interest in mindful meditation – and perhaps a certain irony in the commodification of mindfulness into apps with bite sized sessions, easy to fit into a busy day.
The cult of busyness dominates; to be an important person you have to be a busy person. Productivity is king, measured in how many things we’ve ticked off the list, how much we got done, scheduling the next set of tasks. Leisure time is scheduled and ticked off the list. Occasional drunken blow outs or wild shopping sprees offer an opportunity for unscheduled freedom and release – just swallow the ensuing guilt and shame and promise to take better care in the future…
So next time you notice the urge to linger and soak in the view, or watch the light play on a cobweb, remember it’s clinically proven that attending to nature is good for you. There are beautiful moments in every day if you are open to experiencing them. Life is just a series of moments so you might aswell take time to savour the nicer ones. In the words of Christophe Andre, 'we will often be happy, if only in snatches. These fleeting moments.... slight, brief, imperfect and incomplete, but multiple, changing, alive and constantly renewed. Our lives will have a dusting of happiness.'