The Virtues of Solitude – 5. Appreciation

Did you know that only 10% of our mind functions consciously on a daily basis?

That leaves the other 90% functioning on an unconscious auto-pilot mode.  In essence, all the stimulation of our daily lives is filtered out for what is the most immediately relevant to us.  So what’s the big deal you ask?  The big deal is the little things we miss on the way. We miss the opportunities for admiration, the doorways to experiencing gratitude, and the chances to appreciate life as a whole.  We miss the feelings of happiness, the childlike sensations of awe, and the innocent curiosity of wonder.

If you look around, it’s easy to see that the need for personal Solitude is great in this world.  Not only does Solitude help us develop inner peace, acceptance and understanding, but also outer insight, awareness and most essentially, appreciation.  After all, how are we supposed to enjoy the journey rather than the destination without appreciating what we see on the way?

Gratitude and Appreciation

If you want to find happiness, find gratitude.  ~  S. Maraboli

Gratitude stems from appreciation and is essentially an attitude of thankfulness towards the big and little things of life.  When was the last time you sat down and thought about all the things you’re thankful for?  Or stopped at the traffic lights and felt gratitude for your ability to work for money, drive, gather food, function normally … So why do we complain more than feel appreciation in our lives?  The answer is an easy one: lack of awareness, and lack of alone time and personal Solitude.  As I mentioned earlier, we live most of our days in an automatic and unconscious state.  As you can read in a previous article, this is largely due to the fact that we constantly live in the past or off in the future, forgetting about this present moment now.  To experience gratitude is to experience an appreciation of the present moment, of what we possess right now.  Experiencing gratitude also requires a certain level of introspective alone time, you could even say that gratitude is a natural byproduct of Solitude.  Without Solitude, it’s extremely difficult to develop appreciation when we’re engulfed in tides of people, noise and drama.

My question to you, the Reader:

How do you practice gratitude in your daily life?

Admiration and Appreciation

Admiration is the second element of appreciation and is basically a feeling of wonder and pleasure towards something.  Admiration is essential to our lives because it instills in us a sense of love, respect and awe for what we see.  When you pass a mountain in your car, do you feel a sense of awe and wonder?  When you see a mother nursing her young in the streets, do you feel a sense of love and respect?  Too often we take the things we see for granted, missing out on their hidden opportunities to experience admiration and appreciation, the very things that help us enjoy life.  This is due to the fact that we don’t make time and space for ourselves to absorb the world around us.  Once again, experiencing admiration in its purest form is closely linked to the need to establish personal Solitude.  How can we live life fully without first admiring, appreciating and enjoying it first?

Appreciation, the fifth virtue of Solitude, is split up into the two elements of gratitude and admiration.  These allow us to see each moment as a beautiful gift, with eyes of wonder and respect.

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