There are moments when we are able to soak in the incredible beauty of life—the preciousness of it, and the awe-inspiring power of the world around us. It’s breathtaking, gorgeous, and deeply moving.
But most of the time, we forget.
We tend to move through our days in a daze, going through the motions and jumping from one task to another, one distraction to another. It’s like we’re in a dream. So how do we lose sight of what’s right in front of us?
It’s simple: We become acclimatized to our lives. Our world becomes our “normal,” the background noise that we tune out.
When we see things—sunlight, trees, beautiful faces—we start to think we know them already. They’re average, even boring. Nothing to be noted.
We take for granted things that are truly magical: flying in a plane, the miracle of electricity, the unlimited knowledge available on the internet, and the loved ones in our life.
We get accustomed to things being a certain way. And this process of becoming acclimatized is normal. We all do it. As toddlers, we found wonder and delight in everyday things—have you ever seen a child chase after a bubble or butterfly, or laugh in delight at a bouncing ball? But then we get used to it, and ignore it.
I’m not criticizing anyone here—we all do it, and it’s natural. But it’s good to know when we’re taking our world for granted. And then we can take actions to reverse it.
- Develop a practice of looking around with childlike eyes, seeing everything afresh, as if you’ve never seen it before. See the wonder in the everyday.
- Several times a day, find small things that you’re grateful to have in your life: a beautiful painting, a podcast, a window that gives you a great view.
- Try to look at one person a day as if they were the most beautiful being on earth. Practice looking into their soul and trying to understand the depths of their being—as if they have a gift to offer the world and your gift is to witness it; as if they have a tender heart that wants to be loved, and pain worthy of your compassion.
Open your heart to the world around you, and behold its magnificent nature. We have been given the gift of being alive and witnessing this world. Let’s not forget it.
Leo Babauta is the author of six books and the writer of “Zen Habits,” a blog with more than 2 million subscribers. Visit ZenHabits.net