The Spanish philosophy and approach to life is beautiful and enigmatic. Bold expression with mild aggravation. A recipe ingrained in the culture and the main contributor to the people’s picture of health.
There is certainly an environment of philosophical thinking in Spain, but as a whole, this European life practice is more intuitive than methodical. While we in the states constantly discuss being in the moment, the how to’s to get there and the important reasons why, Spaniards for the most part just are. In my observation, it’s one of the main reasons Spaniards seem more carefree than most cultures. They have worries and stressors, especially in the current economic climate, but by remaining constantly present they worry about what is actually happening right now.
The stress of the future, or even the present, takes our mind out of what is happening in front of us, puts us farther away from the solution and ultimately leads to a myriad of health issues. The concept of something as intangible as our thoughts, which are often so personal we cannot separate our ‘self’ from our thinking, is more accepted abroad than it is here. As a result, our country’s definition of health has been skewed for some time. It’s vital to be fully connected in all aspects of the self, mind, body and soul, to be a healthy person.
It was refreshing to converse with Spaniards and fascinating to observe. They lock eyes with you and listen intently. Even the younger folks would speak vibrantly about the rich history, going out that night, having a cup of wine or beer. When it came to their economy, perhaps the biggest worry for all Spaniards, without exception their tone would change. This was the only time they seemed worried, breathed a deep sigh of sadness, furrowed their eyebrows and shrugged their shoulders. And then, just as if the conversation had never taken place, the subject changed and so did every bit of their body language, expression and attention. Like this, the examples were plenty. It was incredibly eye opening to compare to our normal state, which is to be preoccupied by worries, at least a percentage of all your time. Regardless if the problem is being discussed or dealt with, it is as present as you are.
The Spaniards basic understanding of being completely in the moment is the most favorite European souvenir. Health is a topic of deep interest and importance and while a holistic approach to wellbeing is gaining popularity, it’s not the same to intellectualize the theory as it is to fully embrace and understand it. I’ve spent much of my time conversing, researching, reading, watching movies and even meditating on being present. And while I had understood its importance, nothing was as resounding as seeing its practice and benefits firsthand.
The journey to being a happy and healthy person starts with this moment. Right here, right now.