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Wherever You Go, There You Are: Transcendence In Everyday Life

“No matter where you go, there you are.”- Confucius

We are living at what is probably the most exciting and velocitized moment in all of humandistracted history. We have access to methods of communication, medicine, foods, information, and transportation that could not have been imagined as recently as 200 years ago, not a long time in the entire span of human history. It’s very easy to get caught up in the moment in a negative way. Life can very quickly denigrate into a rat race where one finds themselves waking, traveling, working, traveling home again, sleeping, and then rinsing and repeating the same sequence over and over again. A lot of people live for weekends, and vacations, building up all kinds of stress and tension in the meantime. Maybe it doesn’t have to be that way.

My “day job” is working in the city of Boston. My workday consists of a 42 mile door to door trip that I have to take every day. The employee parking lot is a quarter-mile from the counseling center where I work in a rather nice neighborhood of the city. I can’t help but notice as I walk to and from that parking lot that most people walk with their head down or connected to a cell phone. In fact, most people in the city never look above eye level. Too bad. They may be missing some of life’s transcendent moments.

Part of the human experience that is missing in the contemporary world is our intimate connection with nature and our environment. This connection has become increasingly more distant over the past 100 or so years, as fewer of us produce our own food, perform our own work, or spend time outdoors. We have more technology and information than we probably need, yet remain very disconnected in a literal sense from our nature and our surroundings, keeping us feeling apart from our environment and the natural world. Finding ways to reconnect with this aspect of life is incredibly important to our emotional well-being. (See also http://mindbodycoach.org/ecotherapy/ )

I’m sure many of you are responding to this with a “Yeah, but…” as in, “I live in the city,” or “a crowded area,” or “there’s too many people we are I live.” For most of a day’s 24 hours that may be true. However, too many people never frequent the parks, hiking trails, bike paths where they live. They have a scarcity mindset which encourages them to focus on what they don’t have, and a superficial look at their living situation confirms for them that nature, and the transcendent moments it can provide, are not available to them because of geographic location. They simply do not notice the things that are potentially available to them that could be very helpful to their physical, emotional, or spiritual wellness.

starsRegardless of where you live, when was the last time you sat and watched a sunrise or a sunset? When was the last time you spent a few moments looking up at the night sky pondering the totality of the universe and the wonders of the stars? Spending a few moments doing that from time to time as a tendency to put the day-to-day problems of your own existence in a better, healthier and realistic perspective. These simple actions done daily, or at least a few times a week, can create transcendent moments that allow you to feel connected to things larger and greater than yourself. It’s a nice way to realize that you, and your problems, maybe aren’t that important.

And, for you “yeah but…” people, it may just be a matter of your getting up a little bit earlier, before everybody else, to get outside and possibly witness a sunrise. Maybe look up and notice where the sun sets each evening and spend a little bit of time observing. Take that nasty bag lunch outside, sit on a bench, and partake of some fresh air and sunshine along with that baloney sandwich.

Four years ago I bought a dog, and energetic boxer which I named Boss. I bought him in the wintertime, which dog people know is one of the worst times in the Northeast to be house breaking a dog. I had to bring him outside two to three times during the middle of the night for him to go to the bathroom. Normally, you stop doing this in a few weeks because a trained dog no longer needs this, being able to sleep straight through the night. I realized that it was so cool to go out at least once per night to look up at the stars, breathe in some cool clean air, and enjoy that feeling of “I guess I’m not as important as I thought I was” that only a transcendent moment can give you. We have been repeating this ritual at least once per night ever since.

A few moments in nature each day can be found regardless of where you live. As far as I bostonknow, sunrise, sunset, the moon, and the stars don’t discriminate. A few moments each day, connecting to something far greater than ourselves, can only be a good thing.

“He is one of those who has had the wilderness for a pillow, and called a star his brother. Alone. But loneliness can be a communion.”- Dag Hammarskjöld



P. S. If you found this article helpful, you may benefit from some personalized mindbody coaching. Contact me at http://mindbodycoach.org/contact-us/ if interested in online mindbody coaching. Please check out my Products page through the link at the top of this post.. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and social media. Email me with questions at john@mindbodycoach.org

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