LOVE AND APPRECIATE
Being appreciative is one way to help us get through life with greater happiness.
It can be helpful to write out our philosophy of life. What values do we aspire to? What are our highest intentions in life? How do we want to develop ourselves in this lifetime? Once we have our values established we can use them to hold ourselves true to our strongest ethos. Reading such a document back in times of difficulty and challenge can be particularly useful. Our philosophy of life can often help us navigate through the most difficult times.
One value that came highly in George Ohsawa’s writing, and was part of his Seven Levels of Health was appreciation. Appreciation is largely a state of mind and we can train ourselves to appreciate much in life. Appreciation comes through deeply engaging with the things around us. An easy way to do this is to be conscious of our senses and sensitive to the information coming to our minds. This means a focus on sounds, smells, touch sensations, tastes and whatever we see.
One way to practice this would be through a cup of tea. We can listen to the sound of pouring the tea, look at the colour of the tea, feel the warmth and texture of the cup, smell the tea and then taste the tea.
Part of the process is to be in a descriptive mode, where we try to appreciate whatever we experience just as it is. There is no need to judge whatever we are interacting with in terms of being good or bad, right or wrong. This helps us engage with things in life, just as they are, without imposing our own judgements.
As we train ourselves to engage with life in a descriptive mode we can start to appreciate all the little things in life. Where this becomes useful is that the more we practice being appreciative, the more we become an appreciative person. Of course this is easy to do with flowers, tea, trees, sunshine or people we love. The bigger challenge is whether we can still appreciate things we normally dislike. Is it possible that by practicing being appreciative, we are able to appreciate challenges in our life? George Oshawa wrote that ideally we would be able to appreciate the way challenges that help us develop ourselves.
A big part of this is to be able to appreciate ourselves, even when our bodies or mind are not enjoying the health we would hope for. We can boost self esteem by looking at every detail in the mirror and appreciating everything we see, or touching our skin and appreciating the shapes and texture.
The result of this perspective of life is that we find ourselves becoming less stressed and better able to remain positive when we work through challenges. More than that, appreciation helps us cultivate a love of life where we can feel happy about more of what happens in life.
Simon Brown 2017
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