When I was in Southeast Asia, I learned the beauty of simple pleasures. The importance of taking a moment to slow down the rhythm of life made sense. We have the ability to enhance those moments that bring us peace, calm, and inner fulfillment, states of mind that cannot be achieved through an intense work ethic or ambitious earthly pursuits. The moments that bring us the most satisfaction in life are those spent pursuing something greater than ourselves. May it be by praying, meditation, serving a community in need, or simply spending time with those we most cherish, those are the moments that we keep with us the long run.
As I observed the lifestyles of local Indonesians and Malaysians this past summer, I knew there was something remarkably striking about their philosophy towards life. Whether they were Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, or Christians, they seemed to understand the significance of balance, something many of us have lost control over in the Western world. Despite the varying religious and philosophical ideologies, people seemed to understand the balance between this world and the hereafter, regardless of what it meant for each culture. There was mutual respect and kindness between the different communities and a firm understanding that cooperation was necessary for stability, progress, and most importantly, inner peace.
The philosophical-worldly balance also surfaced in other aspects of everyday life such as appreciation of surroundings and mindfulness. I have always told myself and others, “be a traveler even when you are not traveling.” As travelers, we become more observant and appreciative. Landscapes become more beautiful, foods more delicious, time more precious, and people more interesting. But little do we realize that there is so much to appreciate in our own surroundings. Beauty is everywhere if we choose to recognize it. In the grand finale of things, we are all travelers in this short-lived world and it is what we choose to value that defines our outlook towards life.