What We Take For Granted, But Cannot Live Without

We live in a fast-paced society, where long hours and rapid results are rewarded. We appreciate the results of our efforts, the money to buy food, clothes, cars, homes, or vacations. But what about the rewards we overlook?

Do we truly appreciate those things in our lives that we cannot live without? How do we know?

Sit in a quiet room. Dim the lights. Arrange yourself comfortably in the chair, feet flat on the floor, arms resting lightly in your lap. Close your eyes. Breathe. Inhale slowly through your nose, feeling your lungs and belly gently expand with your breath. Exhale when you are ready. Observe your breath as you relax into your own natural rhythm.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

As you breathe, consider the complex, yet mindless process of oxygenating your body. This is an amazing function of life. This ability to carry out intricate bodily functions without mental direction, freeing us to focus our thoughts on the world around us.

Imagine what it would be like to struggle for breath. Remember your last cold or flu. Remember trying to sleep at night with plugged nostrils and an aching throat. Think of those who cannot breathe easily. Those with asthma or emphysema.

Go back to your breath. Feel the air filling your lungs and releasing with ease.

In elementary school, we learn that there are five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. Contemplate these senses for a moment. Do you possess all five? How do they affect your life?

Close your eyes. Picture the setting sun or a loved one’s face. Imagine that the world was darkness. Listen. Do you hear a clock ticking? A car passing outside? Imagine the world was silent.

Press your feet into the floor as if you are about to stand. Do you feel your thighs tighten? Do you feel your calves? So often we exercise our muscles as a form of work. A way to slim down or sculpt our bodies so that we will look better to others, but our bodies do so much more.

Consider your muscles. Our muscles lift our bodies. They make it possible to stand, walk, reach, feed ourselves, hold a TV remote, or run a marathon. Imagine yourself without muscles, soft as pudding, dependent on others to tend your basic needs. Now imagine yourself moving across the room, getting yourself a drink of water or brushing your teeth.

It is easy, when faced with the often overwhelming responsibilities and struggles of everyday life, to ignore the most basic of our abilities. It is easy to dismiss them by telling ourselves that those things mean nothing if we don’t have good jobs, people who love us, or the material items that make us happy.

But when you sit in your room, with the lights dimmed and your breath relaxed, honestly think about what you truly cannot live without. Enumerate the abilities you possess. Consider the things you can do.

You may be surprised.

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