By paying attention you see all things just as they are.
A monk asks, ‘Is there anything more miraculous than the wonders of nature?’ The master replies, ‘Yes, your awareness of the wonders of nature.’ Angelus Silesius
We lived in Devon, on the south coast of England, and each day we would walk along the wide river Dart to the estuary. One time we were gazing at the smooth flowing water when we realized although the river looked the same day after day it was no more the same from even a second ago. It was constantly changing, always moving, always different.
Which is just like us and our thoughts and feelings. What we are thinking now instantly becomes a past thought. Can you remember what you were thinking that seemed so important as recently as an hour before, let alone yesterday? Who we are now is not who we were last year, last week, even a few minutes ago. Already we have changed, we have moved to a different place inside ourselves.
When we saw how the river is constantly changing it was like looking with new eyes, free of the clutter of our own ideas, projections, judgments, or conceptions. Normally we are looking through the lens of our habitual patterns, conditioning and prejudices, through past regrets or future hopes, but without these we find everything is constantly new and unknown. No longer the same boring sameness, each moment is infused with uniqueness.
This can be experience by imagining you have never been here before so that everything is completely new to you, unknown, waiting to be explored and discovered. Whether you are brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, or doing anything equally mundane, you can see it through new eyes.
All you have to do is be aware, pay attention, and look without any labels, preconceived ideas or expectations. When you pay attention then a tree is just a tree, a mountain is just a mountain. Yet the tree and the mountain is also filled with it’s own unique beauty.
Being aware extends us beyond ourselves. It takes us out of the ego, out of the fixed way we believe things should be, out of self-centeredness, and into awareness of connectedness, of our relationship with everything and everyone.
A Walk On The Wild Side
Try taking a walk in nature, whether in a city park, through a wood, on a beach, by a lake. Make this time an opportunity to see with new eyes: the colors and shapes, the smells and sounds, all unknown.
Open yourself to the beauty of this world. If it is raining then enjoy the feeling of water on your face, appreciate how it is nourishing the earth and the plants; if it is windy then marvel at the power of nature, a force that is beyond our control; if it is cloudy then observe the subtle colors and the softness of the air. Be aware of each footstep.
When we see with new eyes the world becomes the greatest of all gifts.