On a gorgeous Saturday evening I was sitting with my wife outside a beach front coffee shop watching in awe as the sun set behind the calm, blue ocean. A moment prior to that, we had been engrossed in a lively conversation about our plans, our goals and our future.
We talked about needing to move to a bigger house, needing to earn more money, needing to expand her business; but somehow as soon as the sun began to set, our lively conversation was replaced by a contemplative silence.
Everything around me faded away; the sounds, the street, the cars, the people, the buildings, even the beach and the sun disappeared and I was left with nothing but emotions. I was instantly submerged into a deep appreciation for the countless blessings that I have in my life.
I realized that at that very moment I was truly happy. At that very moment there was nothing else that I wanted or needed in order to experience the emotions that I believed a bigger house, more money, or more success could bring me.
I felt peace, love, appreciation, gratitude, exhilaration and immense joy. I felt as if I was in a different realm, finally being able to see and understand the reality of things. I did not want to come out from that trance. I wanted to remain there, experiencing this indescribable beauty.
A few moments later the hustle and bustle of the street began to gain volume, and I became aware once again of my surroundings. I immediately turned to my wife and shared my experience with her; I expressed my longing for that feeling to come back, and my disappointment that it had been short lived. Could I bring it back? It felt like it was gone forever.
But then I realized that nothing seemingly out of the ordinary had happened to take me there. While it was true that I had entered this peaceful state while appreciating the gorgeous sunset at the beach, it wasn’t the sunset itself that took me there. I had certainly seen many sunsets at the beach before. Moreover, if the sunset itself had been the cause, everyone experiencing it would have been likewise hypnotized.
Then it hit me. It was my contemplation and appreciation of the sunset that got me into that state. And this…this was something I could certainly repeat. A sunset was not the only beautiful or awe-inspiring thing around me.
There are thousands, even millions of such things around me every single day. The sound of a bird’s chirping in the morning, the butterfly that lands on a rose, the flowers that grow outside my house, the millions of stars in the sky, the smile on a friend’s face, the look in my wife’s eyes, my child’s voice calling me daddy. All of these and countless more are things that could help me get to that state of pure bliss, if I only decide to contemplate and appreciate them.
Since that day, it has been my intention to re-live that experience at every chance I get. It’s no small task because it requires focus, and one can easily get distracted by the endless pile of things to do. But this is why I found it’s important to at least once a day take a break and breathe slowly for a few minutes, uninterrupted, and allow myself to enter into a state of contemplation and gratitude.
I invite you to do so now, as you finish reading this post. Take a deep breath in and relax your body as you exhale. Close your eyes and think about something that elicits feelings of love, peace or gratitude. Bask in those feelings for a few minutes or for as long as you can, and let them permeate every cell in your body. Smile as you do so, and know that at this very moment, all-is-well.