Our Vital Need for Enjoyment

425We need enjoyment in our lives.  It’s not just that we want it, we NEED it.  Enjoyment/pleasure is what keeps us supplied with the desire to be here at all.

I realize I tend to equate enjoyment with beauty, in a broad sense (no pun intended).  Even though they’re not officially synonyms, I think in practical terms they’re the same.  We enjoy what we experience as beautiful. Whether we consider it beautiful in a visual, auditory, olfactory, gastronomic, tactile, or spiritual way, we enjoy it in that way.  So I tend to equate beauty with enjoyment.

Years ago I worked as a lifeguard at a city pool.  One day, looking at all the screaming, jumping, splashing people in front of me, I wondered;  how am I going to see someone in trouble?  I asked a more experienced lifeguard this question and he replied;  “Don’t worry about it, just keep your eyes open and you’ll see them.”  At the time this sounded a little mystical, however, sometimes mystical works.  Somehow in all the chaos, if someone was truly in trouble, my attention was drawn to them.  I came to call this phenomenon “The Lifeguard Principle”.  It’s easy for us to see the problems.

I have come to recognize that this principle is at work in our day to day lives also.  It’s easy for us to see the problems.  There is probably some survival advantage to this reality which has evolved within us.  We need to see the problems in order to survive.  Certainly our ancestors wanted to know if there was a predator stalking them.  However, there is a point at which being aware of the world’s problems without being aware of the world’s beauty can work against us.

It is a fact that we need to enjoy ourselves, appreciate life in order to be healthy.  We gain motivation from our enjoyment of life.  If we focus our mind solely on the aspects of our life or world in which there are problems we will find ourselves becoming discouraged and depressed.  Sometimes it takes more work than others to find beauty and enjoyment in the world around us.  Sometimes we need to refocus our attention, to look at the smallest or largest of aspects of the world in order to find beauty.  However, our natural world is filled with beauty and if we try, we can find it.  And our natural world includes the other people we are surrounded by.  There also we can find beauty, again, sometimes we have to search harder than at other times.  However, even in the harshest, meanest, least approachable person you can think of, somewhere inside them, there is beauty and an appreciation of beauty.  If there weren’t that person would probably already be dead.

Finally, we also need to be aware of the beauty that is within us, that is us.  Sometimes our own beauty may be the hardest for us to see.  It is important to find it though, because when we do, we have found what we have to share with others.  We have found what we have to share that others actually want to experience!

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