Vuja Dé — A Simple Mindset Shift to See Each Day as Extraordinary

IN THE EVENING, I could hear gentle drops of rain patter on my window. I looked outside into the dusky, grey sky; a smile formed on my face.

Before the sun’s final rays, I made my way to the beach by my home to watch the world transition — day into night. The world looked steeped in a misty haze.

Big, clean waves rolled from the horizon to the shore.

The seconds tick away. The light fades. The day ends, and something magical takes place. People come together all around the world to observe this daily ritual.

The setting sun — it draws the worries from the day as it falls below the horizon.

At least in that moment I feel small, and if I could appreciate this, day after day, then I know everything will be okay.

My dad often tells me: The sun goes up and it goes down; don’t overthink it.

I’m so grateful that my dad lovingly tells me this. I know how rare it is.

But of course, I have my own worries, dreams, desires, fears. I complicate things. But we won’t be around forever.

Maybe when we’re gone, we can watch the rising falling sun from another world — but it’s rather beautiful from this one. Let’s cherish it while we can.

Vuja Dé

I learned of a concept this week from author Adam Grant’s TED Talk on the commonalities of original thinkers. This concept is vuja dé, seeing something you’ve seen a million times before with fresh eyes, the opposite of déjà vu.

How many of us are on autopilot as we start the day?

Maybe that person laying beside you has lost their luster in your eyes, since you’ve seen them a million times. Maybe the light which touches your skin as you head to the car feels like it does any other day.

Maybe that cup o’ Joe is mediocre at best, and you slug it down subconsciously because you’re wired to do so.

What if we could change that?

Do you remember what it was like in the early stages, waking up next to that person?

How butterflies fluttered in your stomach? How you wondered what you’d say, if you were giving too much away? What you planned to do that day?

What does it feel like to feel the touch of sun on your skin after a hundred days of rain? It’s bliss.

With a mindset shift, we can cultivate that same sheer gratitude for life, no matter what life throws our way.

A simple gesture of gratitude

Do I wake up in the morning and just stare around my room in awe with my jaw on the floor? Well, yes and no.

I say thank you for a bed, for a pillow to rest my head upon, every single night. I wake up and say thank you for the sun rising once again. I say thank you for a body that works, for air to breathe, for the sunshine, and that always helps to ease anxiety and worry.

I try to be as grateful as I can be, but of course I’m accustomed to my routine. But perhaps, I, you, we — we see just what we expect to see, and not what’s truly there.

Going to see the sunset as often as I can reminds me just how miraculous this world is, and what a gift it is to be alive.

What would it be like to see the ocean for the first time, the glowing sand, the dying light, an endless horizon?

How the heck do we explain the phones we carry at all times? A wealth of knowledge, communication, entertainment; it’s beyond comprehension.

I believe perceiving life with the mindset of vuja dé won’t only make us more grateful, it will bring us peace, simplicity, and joy.

This fundamental yoga practice described in this video by the modern mystic Sadhguru, can help us on our journey. He says:

The word yoga literally means union.This is the first form of union, your right and your left. This is called Pingala (masculine right side of body) and Ida (feminine left side). Just look at something that really matters to you, maybe the sun, the sky, the clouds, a tree, a person, a child, an animal, just look at it with your hands together for ten-twelve minutes, and half of your anxiety will start settling down. There are two dimensions in you, to put it simply, there’s a right brain and a left brain. Whatever you can relate to, look at them with the most pleasantness you can generate, recognizing how important they are to you.

When I’m out on the beach as the sun falls low, I put my hands together, the two dimensions of my being, and I say thank you.

I’m still trying to figure out what to make of the moon — I’ll let you know when I get there. I mean, we can stare at the moon…wild.

Inspiration prompt: Bring us into your trivial world

What seemingly trivial parts of your day can you portray as extraordinary? And I’m not saying exaggerate. They’re extraordinary because they’re real.

I like to think of this as the miracle mundane. Write about what’s special to you. A possession that means the world?

A part of the day that always makes you smile, like washing dishes or getting your kids ready for school?

Is it something somebody does for you, or that you do for them, which seems insignificant? These things matter.

There are no bad ideas here. Life is trivial — and that’s what makes it miraculous. That’s where we connect.

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This story was originally published in the in the Coffee Times inspiration column

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