“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The most valuable things in life will never be seen with the naked eye: love, friendship, hope, integrity, trust, compassion, faith, empathy.
These pursuits may be invisible, but they bring real substance, fulfillment, meaning, and joy to our lives.
Too often, unfortunately, we spend our time and energy chasing things that are visible: beautiful homes, fast cars, larger paychecks, more fashionable clothing, or newer technology.
We dream of a future that includes those visible items. We plot and plan to acquire them. We go to great lengths to care for them when we acquire them and become jealous when others have more of them.
All the while, those visible things have never fully satisfied our soul or brought us the fulfillment that they promised.
- Their appeal dims.
- Their value decreases.
- Their appearance fades.
- And their satisfaction diminishes every day.
It is time to shift our focus. It is time to allow the invisible to triumph over the visible in our eyes, minds, and hearts.
But how do we do that? How do we learn to appreciate the invisible joys of life more?
Here are six ideas:
1. We make a decision to pursue the invisible.
Most changes in life are preceded by a simple decision. Decide today to assign more value to the invisible things of life.
This change in focus might happen by accident, but that’s rarely the case. Instead, we would all be wise to determine today in our hearts and say aloud, “I will make a conscience effort to value the invisible more than the visible.”
2. Offer room in our hearts and minds for the invisible.
Our actions are almost always determined by our heart’s desires and our mind’s thoughts. Make room in your heart for the invisible.
We can do this by slowing down and meditating (or praying) on these new desires: love, hope, compassion, and friendship. This practice is most helpful at the beginning of each day.
3. Bring the invisible into better focus.
Unfortunately, the old cliche is often true, “Out of sight, out of mind.”
Turn it around and use it to your advantage. What comes into your mind when you think about joy, hope, relationships, or significance? Post that photo or quote somewhere that you can see it each day and use it to remind you of its value. This will help keep the invisible visible in your mind.
4. Be wise to culture’s influence.
Most of the Western world’s culture and economy is built on humanity’s desire to acquire more and more things—even working to encourage that from the moment we are born. Consumption makes economies grow, governments flourish, and brings appeasement to the masses. Therefore, it is encouraged at every turn.
Become wise to the influence being placed on us both intentionally and unintentionally. As we do, we get better at recognizing false promises.
5. Look for the invisible more intently when you can’t see it.
One of the reasons physical possessions assume such an elevated priority in our lives is because their existence is never in doubt. We can see them and hold them. Whenever we feel lonely, our phones or televisions are there to provide a distraction. Whenever we get stressed, the mall is just down the street.
But the greatest joys in life are sometimes more difficult to see. We begin to doubt that we are loved, that our friends are real, or that compassion and faith even exists. Those aren’t things we can simply pull out of our pockets or turn on with a remote control.
But even when we can’t feel love, it exists. Even when we don’t see a path to hope, it’s there. Sometimes, we just need to look harder for it.
6. Pursue it at all costs.
If the most valuable things in life are invisible, pursue them above everything else. Even if no one else is.
The best things in life are free… and often invisible. Let’s learn to appreciate them more and more.