Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone? You only need the light when it’s burning low and you only miss the sun when it starts to snow. The fact that we are too ignorant to value what we have until we don’t have it anymore has delivered great material for loads of songs and poems. Instead of realizing our own mistakes and changing something, we usually wallow in our sorrow, assuming ourselves as the poorest soul on earth. And as being very poetic.
But in fact, there is a brief time window, a slight chance, to open your eyes and look around and recognize what’s going on. It happens between the low moment and the way back up. Because once you’re on a high path again, you will find it normal soon enough. But if you do pay attention to to the moment of change, you might even remember the difference between high and low, the next time you’re about to not value something enough.
Too abstract? Let’s throw in some examples. Have you ever felt really down and heartbroken after a breakup? It took, so it seems, centuries of your lifetime to get over it, and it felt as if the day of relief would never come. In retrospective, it came eventually – but in retrospective you might not be able to grasp when that was exactly. Well, think harder! Was there not this one day that you walked around as the poor soul and little pile of weak whining you were, and then, suddenly, you saw something beautiful in this world again? Even if it was just something minor as a nice sunset, or some green grass. You did not notice it before and suddenly you were able to recognize it.
That was your time window. Probably not long after, seeing green grass and beautiful sunsets was your normal daily routine, and thus unnoticed. But you have to hold on to this particular feeling, when you first saw it, and remember it. That was the only point, in fact, when you were not too blind to appreciate daily beauty around you. And when you’re living your 9-to-5 and your dull routine, think of this moment, and remember that there is a lot of nice stuff going on around you that you just fade out because you are used to it.
I have always complained about my current place of residence being too deserted in summer. It is, indeed, very deserted – after a busy spring it seems as if out of a sudden something like an apocalypse happened, and I am the only survivor. Or, which is more likely, they forgot to evacuate me. Places that used to be crowded with people, like a university restaurant for instance, are suddenly empty and calm. It seems wrong. And it feels damn lonely.
But returning from China, a place that is simply never deserted, and nowhere, and there are people all around you constantly, sheds completely new light on this deserted place here. Suddenly it doesn’t feel lonely or wrong, it just feels peaceful. Yes, here it comes, the old it’s-just-a-matter-of-perspective-speech. But it is! All I need to do now is to hold on to this feeling of peacefulness and tranquility, and preserve it till next year, when after a busy spring the place feels deserted. Then I can retrieve this feeling, look at it, try it on and be less lonely – because, after all, it’s ok, and people will come back at the end of summer, whether I want that or not.
Unless you’re an experienced Buddhist, it’s not easy to live in the present and abstain from all these humane flaws of comparing, re-thinking, analyzing the past and forecasting the future, no doubt. Sometimes I don’t even know if I want to (creativity strikes best in moments of deep sorrow, writing-wise). But conserving these small moments of enlightenment, where you are able to see the past and the presence and the future all at once and realize that it’s all not as bad as it looks, will surely help appreciating what we got a little bit more and a little bit more timely. Say no to simply moaning over things that are gone, and save some epiphanies this year!