Things You Probably Take For Granted
Many of us try to run away from conscious awareness of impermanence, of the fact that how things are right now is not how they will always be, that at some point we will be separated from everyone and everything we care about. This idea sounds like a big time bummer so why think about it? The reason why is that there is the other side of the coin to consider, that when we don’t recognize our impermanence we tend to take all the miraculous things for granted because we unconsciously believe they will last forever.
They usually create what we call neutral feelings, simply meaning that we don’t feel positively or negatively affected by them since they represent a baseline of how things are for us. Rather than just making you feel bummed out, contemplating impermanence can bring you a lot of happiness in this moment because your neutral feelings will suddenly transform into positive feelings as these aspects of your life switch from givens to miracles. In this spirit we have compiled a short list of things you probably take for granted.
1. Your vision. Having the capacity to look around you, to see all the colors and beauty in the world.
2. Your teeth. They will probably fall out at some point but right now they allow you to chew up your food or flash a smile.
3. Your ability to walk. You don’t have to rely on anything outside of yourself to get from point A to point B if you don’t want to and your mobility really lets you suck the nectar out of life.
4. Your health. All it takes is something as simple as a common cold and suddenly you’re yearning for something you didn’t give a second thought to before.
5. Your romantic partner. Thich Nhat Hanh advises that whenever you find yourself about to say something cruel to your partner, imagine what he or she will be like 300 years from now. We take our close relationships for granted without appreciating that one day soon these people will not be around anymore.
6. The sun. The simple recognition that no life on this planet would be possible without that burning orb millions of miles away.
7. Clean Water. We are made almost entirely of it and of course it’s essential for life. Contemplate this fact the next time you have a glass of it.
8. Your Heart. That organ has ceaselessly pumped vital blood to all the parts of your body since your whole life without ever taking a break.
9. Your education. You have the ability to read, to learn more, to develop yourself further as you see fit.
10. Your breath. We breathe thousands of times a day but how often do we really think about the miracle of it until we suddenly find ourselves deprived of oxygen, like when we’re trying to hold our breath under water?
There are obviously countless more examples and they vary for all of us, but what they have in common is that we think they are going to last forever so we don’t really appreciate them, even though they can provide us with a lot of joy and gratitude right now. We urge you to make your own list and contemplate it for a while to see if a change takes place in how you see your life.