In a recent virtual philosophy class, my tutor told us to practice a certain exercise. He told us to look around in your immediate vicinity. In your room, just find an object that brings you joy and beauty. And focus on that for a while. And see how that affects you.
So, as I looked around my cluttered room, I saw so many things that struck beauty in my heart. That made a difference in my life. From the headphones that I use to listen to music at the gym. To the cup of water to my right providing me with sustenance. To books providing me with knowledge. To my desk lamp providing me with a comfortable and illuminating experience. There are so many supposedly mundane objects that you can find beauty in. That in itself can bring you lasting joy.
For me, I eventually simply focused on my pen in my room. A simple blue pen – with my family business labeled on it. Nothing too special. But, upon focusing on the pen, I was able to draw upon a plethora of beauty and memories. Thinking about the pen made me realize the importance of communication and of writing itself.
It brought me gratitude, knowing that I am familiar with the English language and that I can write essays filled with my unique ideas on life. It made me focused on how lucky I am to know multiple languages – English, Mandarin, French, Spanish, Portuguese (all to varying degrees)!
And it brought me to the beauty of language itself. How it has the power to understand, to motivate, to inspire, to create meaningful action in people’s lives.
Yes, looking simply at a pen made me think of all these beautiful thoughts on life. And the importance that a simple pen has on my own well-being.
I think that philosophy exercise was quiet illuminating. Other people in my class had interesting responses as well – from wallpaper with distinct colors, to a plant that was given by a relative. Everyone can find beauty in the mundane. Everyone can find inspiration and joy in seemingly regular experiences.
You just have to delve deeper. Look peacefully and presently. And just be okay with the beauty that you see. I can go beyond simply looking at the pen.
Right now, on my desk, there are stacks of books that I’ve read just piling up. I’m thinking about investing in a Kindle at some point, but that’s a story for another day. I have books on investing, on self-improvement, on philosophy, on happiness all piled up on my desk. I have memoirs from famous people as well, which I truly appreciate too.
Books are another source of inspiration for me. And I can find endless beauty and knowledge from each and every one of them. It is a great investment, and it has the power to change your way of thinking and strike something deep within myself.
One book I recently finished was Trevor Noah’s memoir, Born A Crime, which highlights his childhood growing up under apartheid in South Africa. And the bond he created with his mother, who stuck with him thru thick and thin. It is a beautiful story, described with humor and levity, and I certainly left inspired by his story. The power of books is endless.
Another random object on my desk is my holographic drinking cup, with Spider-Man stitched on it. It brings back memories of the time when I used to work for Marvel, one of my dream companies while growing up as a kid. And it brought to life the beauty of Spider-Man, one of the most prominent superheroes in the Marvel pantheon of superheroes. It fills me up with gratitude, knowing that I used to work for a company that I deeply admired as a kid.
Then, there are the loose change on my desk. A few quarters here and there. Some nickels and dimes. And that makes me realize the importance of money in our economy. How this bartering system works. And how it created a more civilized and peaceful way of doing business – rather than murdering and killing and going to war over land like in the ancient days.
So, a lot of these seemingly random objects on my desk can elicit a deeper response if I look deep enough. It can bring forth beauty. It can bring forth inspiration. It can bring forth a sense of contentment. Beauty is everywhere if you look hard enough.
It is in a pen. It is in a cup. It is in a laptop. It is in headphones. It is simply everywhere. The more you look, the more you’ll realize that simple objects can bring you joy and fulfillment and beauty. It’s a practice that we should undertake on a daily basis. Because it makes you realize that everything we have in the here and now is simply sufficient.