Richness of experiences

The phase I'm going through now I'd characterize as one of absorbing the richness of experiences.  It's a corollary of the principle to <a href="">feel</a> things rather than participate in them, and the desire to understand myself fundamentally.

For example, the other day my friend A.N. and I (to say that I <em>helped</em>, I guess, is a generous overstatement) were grilling steaks in his backyard.  A few years ago I would have found this to be incredibly boring; probably not so long ago, at least uneventful.  But as I let my inner self "settle" (which is, by the way, a useful visualization of what really helps me feel something rather than just participate), I felt this kind of deep satisfaction.  I couldn't put my finger on any specific part of the grilling that gave me this satisfaction, yet the overall experience definitely did.

This richness is very different from the kind of instant gratification one gets when one is, say, having a meal in a restaurant, or the kind of stable entertainment of drinking with your friends in a bar or watching a movie.  It's a richness that takes some patience (setting up a grill isn't the easiest of things to do), some distance (you have to be able to enjoy it as a half-player, half-spectator; you can't be too eager or too passive), and some reflection (while the goal of doing the grill was to have some tasty steaks, that's not the goal I'm talking about).

Another similar example is sailing -- going on a sail on a weeknight is one of the most satisfying things one can do with a friend.  It's not effortless -- one is busy pretty much all the time -- but nothing beats the enjoyment of watching setting sun with some beer in hand, on a boat (a safe haven) amidst the vast expanses of the sea.  I think of it as a better incarnation of going to a bar for a drink -- better, because it's more private, more peaceful.