Seeing the Good

By: Sara KautenHow many things do we frequently ignore and pass by during our daily race to beat the clock? Certainly nothing of great significance can be so special as to take us away from submitting our projects, calculating our bi-weekly salary, paying our monthly expenses, planning for events weeks in advance, skipping breakfast to beat the traffic, talking about the latest television drama or political upheaval? Our friends, family and personal wellbeing can wait, they are of secondary importance. But without our personal relationships, our health and our natural environment, which gets overlooked among the industrialized now, how important really is anything else we deem special?

With the patterns we have conditioned ourselves to follow each day, we allow ourselves to miss seeing the good. It simply feels odd to not allow ourselves to follow our usual patterns, because if we do not, then we lack a form of identification with the image of who we are seemingly comfortable being. But why? Our constant dependence on our industrialized lives has allowed us to achieve wonders once only imagined in children stories, yet has made us feel out of place in natural settings, void of an abundance of technological creations. Even when most of us take ourselves away from our usual “Important” lifestyle and remove ourselves from our plugged in culture, either on a vacation or on a nature walk, we quickly pull out our pocket devices to stay in contact with our office or social groups, fearing a missed update, the latest global developments, the price fluctuations of our stocks, reminders of tasks to complete later or even just to take a picture to then share with those who remain plugged in.

It is only in our moments of stillness that we recognize that which we allow to pass us by daily. To remain unplugged does not mean our emotional connections are lost. It does not mean we are being unproductive. It does not mean we are behind schedule. It does not mean we are wasting time. It does not mean we are being reclusive. To remain unplugged means we are allowing ourselves to find the stillness in the midst of the perceived constraint of constant activity. This will always feel odd to us and even uncomfortable only because it has not been a state visited often.

It is us who believe that our state of productivity takes precedence to our state of relaxation, yet the two states can be made to be positive or negative based on the definitions we have created and attributed to them. Productivity may be seen as a trait which leads to success in any undertaking in life. It may also be seen as an obsession to chase an illusion of future prosperity. Relaxation may inversely be termed as something one spends their days doing due to their own lazy characteristics. It may also be termed as a moment where one can reflect and appreciate their progress on their journey, project or state of self-development. The two states, productivity and relaxation, are not to be pitted against each other, for too much of one alone is detrimental. The former may lead to burn out, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility towards loved ones, neglect of the self, addiction and diminishing levels of optimal health. The latter may lead to things just as sever such as, a decrease in moral, degeneration of skills, lack of self-care, minimal contributions to the community or society at large, unexpressed potential, muscle atrophy and excessive reliance on others to complete simple daily tasks.

The two opposing states can always be integrated to promote an optimal balance between each other and only draw from the benefits of each. What is success without the time to enjoy the journey and destination? What is romance without the build up and switch of routine? What is knowledge without its application? What are friends without shared memories? What is light without darkness? They are all half of a whole and yet we have been stripping away half of our life experiences daily because the belief system we have allowed to take center stage, shows us that we are fine with expressing half of our potential and living half of our lives.

Our beliefs towards such things does not allow us to see the good. Instead of enjoying the wonders of birds in flight and the magical songs they create, we throw digital birds at structures on our pocket devices in angry birds. Instead of feeling the immense power and simultaneous gentleness of the ocean on our skin, we take a new display picture of us on a beach to upload to our social groups. Instead of looking up at all the planets, stars, solar systems and galaxies in the night sky, we look up at the largest billboard showing the latest fall trends. Instead of picking up our smartphone to call that friend we have been meaning to for the last few weeks, we use it to shop online. Instead of slowing down our frantic pace, we speed it up.

Whatever we hold in our minds most frequently, become the most dominant thoughts we act upon. This requires less mental effort each time until it becomes a pattern and is expressed as a natural and automatic state. We literally keep ourselves in a state of perpetual motional, forever moving towards something unknown, with the hopes that it somehow and someway leads to success, happiness and ironically, relaxation.

How will we ever see the good if we do not look at it? How will we ever find what we have always been looking for, if we do not stop to see if we have been passing it by each day?
Have you noticed the truly important things around you or have you filled another blank space on your to-do list?

¬†Whatever you believe will always be true, even if it’s wrong.
– C.B


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