How to Experience Your Life

You (probably) live a life of absurd luxury and abundance. So do I. It’s pretty sweet. Don’t think so?

  • One (compound) word: air-conditioning.
  • We travel in carriages more luxurious than those kings and queens did just 100 years ago.
  • We enjoy electronic marvels which dazzle us with phosphoric feats choreographed by craftsmen, geniuses, & savants.
  • You can, and do listen to any song you desire, on demand, at any time.
  • Hungry? How about the world’s culinary best delivered at your beck and call.
  • Too lazy to beck or to call? There’s an app for that.

The modern world gives us so much, but by overwhelming us with options, it can make us feel constantly distracted and out of focus. This makes it hard for us to be in the moment, but it also makes it hard for us to find the downtime we need to process our precious days, weeks, and years.

Sometimes, I eat a meal thoughtlessly. What I’ve noticed about this is that in these circumstances, even the sliver of my consciousness eating the meal is focused on the next bite, rather than the bite that’s actually inside my mouth. That means that even though I’m currently chewing on something delicious, my focus is on something else… the next delicious thing I want to eat. But of course by the time the next morsel is in my mouth, my awareness has moved on to the next forkful, and so on. If you think about it, it’s an awful way to eat. But the scary part is I know I sometimes live my life like this, focusing about the next thing, rather than fully experiencing what’s here and now.

Without being present in the moment & taking that time, our lives are like meals consumed but never fully tasted. And if they aren’t fully tasted, they they can’t be properly digested. We eat with our family, but don’t remember the the conversation or the taste of the food.

What a waste!

“I wonder what I had for lunch today…”

We can track our data with fitbits and jawbones, but they can’t help us live that experience any more fully.

If a tree falls in the forrest, and you’re busy sending a Snapchat, does it make a sound?

Adding fuel to the fire, our economy demands ever-increasing consumption to keep growing apace. Businesses profit when we cram in that next bit of food, stay up to watch the next cliffhanger episode, or write a few extra emails at work.

Nobody, it may seem, benefits when you take some time to connect with yourself, your experiences, and your loved ones. But that’s not true. You’re friends and family benefit because you become a more level headed, happier, and more present person in their lives. By doing that you help contribute to a more present society, the kind I believe we need to become in order to survive. And of course, it’ll make your life better too.

“You tell me it’s the institution… Better Free your mind instead.” -John Lennon

Drink deeply from the cup of life, but take the time to appreciate and process your experiences. It makes all the difference.

That’s why it’s so important that each of us find practices that help us slow down and digest our lives. I’m not here with all the answers, this is a personal struggle for me. But I do have some ideas for us both:

What do you do to keep your life properly digested? Please comment and let me know. We are going through this as a society, and we’ll need to work together to figure it out.

This article also appears on Medium.com and is published here with the permission of the author
Photo credit: @euanholden