Monday, November 29, 2010

Looking without seeing

Have you ever listened to a radio when the knob was a little off the station? The music gets lost in the noise and you don’t even realize that you’re hearing without listening.

These days it seems my life is filled with static and it affects all my senses.

I read an interview with Michael Gelb, the author who wrote, ‘How to Think like Leonardo Da Vinci.’ The great artist once said “People look without seeing, hear without listening, eat without awareness of taste, touch without feeling and talk without thinking.” It's almost six hundred years later and this quote seems even more true today.

I think to some extent we are casualties of the modern world and the velocity of information. Einstein’s theory should say, the only thing that travels faster than the speed of light, is life in the twenty-first century.

It seems the faster you run, the further you fall behind. Most of us try to jam twenty five hours into each twenty four hour day.

At this pace, life can be a blur. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Life is remarkable in unexpected ways. One of my newsletters talked about life around us. “Even cities are teaming with life — birds, bees, chipmunks and squirrels are all around, but are seldom seen.” 

This past week I woke up before daybreak feeling anxious from all the things on my to-do list. I put on a pot of coffee and stepped out on the back deck to get the “local forecast.” A gentle breeze out of the southwest stirred the wind chimes, and I took a moment to contemplate my life and whatnot.

When I realized how nice it felt, I stepped inside to get a couch pillow and a blanket, before settling in on the antique glider. My knees squeaked as I folded them into a seated yoga position, but the pain subsided after a few moments and I began to focus on my breathing.

Off in the distance I heard a rooster crowing which came to the attention of our roosters, and soon there was a crowing contest. The sound of a commercial jet five miles overhead swept through my aural landscape and it was like listening to the lead part in the song, "All Along the Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix. It was a cool effect that I had not noticed in years. I thank the stillness for this gift.

I think it’s moments like those that help me to stop being a spectator in life and become a participant. 

The next time you get a chance to go for a walk, walk outside instead of inside on a treadmill. If you have a small camera, take it with you. As you walk, be mindful of the sights and sounds around you. Try to “see” the seasonal slideshow brought to you by Mother Nature. 

Find something to photograph. Forget about work, forget about the bills, forget about the chores, and just “be there” in the moment. Try to use every one of your senses. 

If you’re like me, you’ll begin to “see” life in new and interesting ways.

1 comment:

  1. So very true. We tend to think that life is about the big stuff. Fact of the matter is ... life is in the moments.


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