We live in a society that is obsessed with getting someplace. It’s all about meeting our goals, being someplace. There are deadlines that need to be meet, appointments we need to keep. Everything is focused on the destination.
We need to remind ourselves that, as important as goals may be, they are not where the joy is. Yes, there is a sense of accomplishment, and this is important. But it is half the story. We need to rediscover the joy in the journey.
We will not get any more moments in our life, but we can get more life in our moments. How? By stopping to smell the roses. It may sound like a cliché, but it is true. It’s all about the journey, not the destination. We can be so busy doing, that we forget to just be.
One way to enjoy the journey is to pause and take in the present moment. To stop and notice all the people and life around us. Notice the child playing, the birds chirping, and the wind as it gently caresses our face.
We feel alive when we reconnect with nature and the flow of life. Taking in the smell the flowers, the coffee brewing, or the fresh air after the rain. These things are always there to bring us back to the now. Our senses can anchor us in reality as it unfolds before us in all its beauty and wonder.
For me, taking a hike on the Sandia Mountains here in Albuquerque helps me find joy in the journey. Just like life, hiking has its ups and downs, strains and easy times. Learning to enjoy the hard parts is a talent. We don’t like the strain that expands our abilities and stretches our endurance. But they make us who we are.
Life is not easy, but it can be fulfilling when we learn to stop fighting the way things are. We really can’t change what is, and fighting is a waste of time and energy. We can, like water, relax into the flow and direct the currents with love and compassion. This is the lesson of Tai Chi and Judo. Work with the natural flow, not against it.
Too often we are too busy to live. Our lives are too complex, too cluttered. Simplicity means doing the important things while making time to just be. Whether it is reading a book, talking to friends, or just silently sitting on our porch. We need these times.
But learning to find joy in the journey will not just happen. Knowing is not doing. Finding joy in the journey is a spiritual discipline, and as with any discipline, it requires intention and dedication. We have to remember to pause and soak in the moment. We have to plan to take time to be silent and enjoy nature.
So how can we help ourselves remember to be fully present in the moment? One way is through a saying, like, “Be here now.” We can say that to ourselves and then take in the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of the moment. We can also set a mindfulness bell to remind us to be present now. Even the sound of the phone can be a mental reminder to breath in and be aware.
Finding joy in the journey will make the journey a path of discovery, a way of living fuller and wider and wiser. Whether we are aware of it or not, the whole universe is an interconnect web. Everything is interdependent and experiencing that is a spiritual awakening of sorts. It fills us with awe and wonder, and helps us feel that we are at home in nature. It is our mother and provider.
The Spiritual Naturalist Society works to spread awareness of spiritual naturalism as a way of life, develop its thought and practice, and help bring together like-minded practitioners in fellowship.