The Mindful Tangent


I woke up at 5:30am this morning with an idea.

Many studies have shown that appreciation and gratitude are critical to happiness, and perhaps the first levels of this have to do with appreciating certain things, or people, or periods of time.

One example might be high school, or college, or the time with a certain company.

I imagine these as two points on a curve, and when you draw a line between those points, you end up with a line that cuts through it.

It’s a nice line, because you’re appreciating this time period.

But the pinnacle of human happiness, at least for some people, is mindfulness. It’s not appreciating segments of time, or things, but rather appreciating every single moment.

I woke up with the idea that this is the slope of the line as the limit approaches zero.

When it does reach zero, which it never does (?), you are perfectly mindful and happy with the present moment.

This obviously isn’t really math, or calculus, or anything like that, but it’s a fascinating analogy nonetheless: a link between perfect mindfulness and a perfect tangent to a curve.

The more the two points converge, the more present you are, and the more distant they are the more you’re focusing on the past or the present.


  1. Carl, all I ask is that you be gentle. For those not aware, Carl is a friend of mine, but also happens to have been my calculus professor in university. 🙂

Related posts: