Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Small Moments Are Big Moments

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Most of us have cultivated the bad habit, reinforced by a culture obsessed with milestones and external achievement, of differentiating between events in our daily lives, considering most of them to be small and only some of them to be big. But these perceptions are usually preconceived notions; we discount the majority of our existence as insignificant until the culturally approved big events come along.

This sort of attitude is the antithesis of mindfulness, compelling us to stop appreciating the miracle of our existence, passing most of our lives in a holding pattern until something worthy of our attention pops up. Yet if you think about your own life, some of the most important people to you, and some of your most important moments, probably took place rather unexpectedly, seemingly by chance, without a lot of pomp and circumstance leading up to them.

The more you can cultivate the mindful attitude, appreciating every moment as a big moment, the more likely you will be to create a self-fulfilling prophecy, sucking all the nectar out of the experience and actually turning it into a big moment where others let the same set of external circumstances pass by without a second thought, considering them small and relatively meaningless. Small moments are big moments if you perceive them that way and therefore act accordingly.

Mindfulness in daily life is attainable for all of us. It’s not some ephemeral practice reserved for monks living in the Tibetan mountains. We just have to be present and appreciate all of the miracles we have come to take for granted, like the sun and wind upon our face during a walk, the colors of nature, or the touch of someone we love. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote something quite lovely that applies, which was that if astronauts living on a space station found out that their oxygen was about to run out and that they had no chance of being saved, if they were asked what their deepest desire was they would say it was just to walk down on planet earth. Sometimes we don’t fully appreciate what we have until it is taken from us. The mindful attitude lets us reengage with life to appreciate its joys while we still have access to them.