The next time you’re enjoying a nice dessert, or someone smiling, or a moment with your cat, or the way the sun hits a tree, try pausing for a moment. If you slow up during something pleasurable, you come face to face with it, and expand your capacity for happiness, to take in the goodness of life.
Conversely if you slow up during something painful, don’t try to leap out of the challenging moment into hoping or worrying about the future, if you can pause just a moment, you create a capacity for poignancy and have an opportunity to realize the possibility of experiencing the peacefulness in the eye of the storm, the possibility to set up an easy chair in the whirlwind, as Yeats calls “the foul rag and bone shop of the heart” and relax in the middle. As Blake said, “it is right it should be so, man was made for joy and woe, and when this thing we rightly know, through the world we safely go”
And you find an even deeper truth – that you can’t have one without the other. Depth of experience, whether joy or sorrow, high or low, come from the same well.