Spiritual gurus like Eckhart Tolle stress the importance of taking the time to enjoy the moment as it happens. This mindful way of living opens you up to feeling more alive and enables you to notice the little things, like a wildflower by the side of the road or the colour of an evening sky.
This is much needed advice in today’s world, where people are often too busy or stressed to notice what’s around them, or even to notice what their bodies are telling them about what they need. And when we’re overly preoccupied with the past or the future, we forget that life is actually lived in the now.
However, human beings will always make meaning of experience, so for us the present moment contains not just what is happening here and now, but an awareness of where we’ve been and where we’re heading. We’re happier when we’re on a meaningful path, with a sense of purpose and direction.
Just as busyness, stress and deadlines can blind you to the good things happening now, so can a lack of purpose or direction sap your ability to enjoy the moment. It’s wonderfully human to want to set goals and work towards them, or to dedicate our efforts to our family, work or some other project or cause. Too much idle time, or time spent on things we don’t personally value, tend to bring us down.
So if you’re not as happy as you’d like to be, the answer might lie in taking more moments to smell the roses – or conversely, it might require putting more effort into the things you value.