The fast pace of modern life has rendered us running and rushing all the time to catch up with an ever expanding capitalist system. And while everything has become more and more measured in terms of money, there are priceless simple things that we increasingly take for granted. While there is enough luxury and materialism to lure us away from the fundamental aspects of the world around us, those things such as friends, family and nature remain indispensable, especially when the materialism of modern life fails to emotionally support us in times of pain and disappointment. Few moments of reflection and meditation can bring us closer to the neglected yet vital facets of our life and help us establish a moderate distance between materialism and spirituality.
It is very important to use time wisely, be productive and aim for success. However, it is also important to spend time with the people we love, as they will not always be around. Due to the busy lifestyles that we are leading and to our preoccupation with work, we only know the worth of our friends and family when they are no longer around or when we are in dire need for help. Going out with friends, laughing at silly things, sharing life one moment at a time is more rewarding than whatever success and financial prosperity we may achieve. Having a meal with a loving family is a priceless emotional achievement that every human needs to get to overcome the challenges the world presents to us.
We may take them for granted, for the sake of supposedly more important issues in life, but once we have a quick glimpse of the bigger picture, we understand that the world is much more magical and graceful when we feel and acknowledge the existence of those sharing this existence with us. Reaching out to people and sharing the moments that make up our life deepens our understanding of ourselves and others and endows us with a genuine happiness we chase elsewhere. Sharing one single moment with others might seem negligible to us, yet it could be of ultimate importance to a mother, father, sister, friend or even a stranger in need for someone to talk to. A saying that goes "the best gift you could ever give someone is your time, because you are giving them something that you'll never get back," sums it all up. Life passes by one moment at a time, and the greatest favour we could do ourselves and others is to spend those irretrievable moments wisely enough not to look back, at a later stage, in resentment and frustration, and to share them with the people we love and cherish while they are still around.
While people are sometimes an undervalued gift, nature is no less neglected in a modern world that relies heavily on technology and industrialism. Stress has become a major part in the everyday life of populations all over the world. However, the healing magic of the outside world and nature is at the disposal of each and every one of us, to ease our worries and fears. Taking time to contemplate a flower, or the colourful butterfly roaming around it, makes a big difference in how we perceive the world and how we deal with the inevitable daily challenges.
Nature teaches us patience and awards us with wisdom. It is our great mother and teacher and, although we may disregard and exploit it, it is always there to embrace and support us. The sound of a waterfall, the panoramic view of a sky full of stars, the sight of pouring rain or falling snow, a field of colourful flowers, the smell of old forests do have a healing effect. Nature is our retreat when the world is cruel to us. It is our model for equality and balance, as it never discriminates between classes, religions, races, ethnicities, gender, ideologies, etc…: we are all equal among the trees and under the sun that rises and sets every single day, bestowing us with its lesson of discipline and dedication. We must learn from the natural world around us and accept that we are all one despite our diversity and differences. A tree is not a flower, and a flower is not the air, but everything has its place in this world, including ourselves. The simple features surrounding us are the teachers that we must look up to in our pursuit of happiness and satisfaction.
The magic around us is endless; we just need to pay attention to the grace of this life and seek harmony with people and the world. Individuality defines and differentiates us, yet we must not let it detach us from the roots we share and the few moments we have on this earth. Music, art, creativity, friends, family, history, tradition, solidarity, harmony, faith, nature and others are simple sources of utmost joy and grace that we must not take for granted, no matter how much advanced technology we achieve and how much industrialized our societies become. We must take a moment to meditate and reflect in order to become aware of the blessings we are endowed with: that can lessen the pain, anxiety and disappointment coming from the modern and material life which deters us from appreciating what is priceless and irreplaceable.