What Do You See?

Posted on Jul 1, 2013 in Featured, Present Moment

What Do You See?

Where do you put your attention? What comes into your awareness and what gets filtered out? Thankfully, I am constantly reminded that when I run on autopilot and move through the world with less consciousness, I don’t really SEE things, I don’t experience the fullness of what is present. I instead spend more of my time running my own thoughts and habits as if that is what is real. Ha! So I say I am thankful that I am constantly reminded because I continually need reminding to come back to what is in the moment.

An example – the other day, I was helping my friend move a couple of things to his new home. We were loading my car with fragile items and I asked him for any blankets or pillows or anything I could squish around and between to stabilize and protect everything. He came back with a blanket and said that was it. When I went into his place for the last load, beyond all of the boxes, I immediately spotted 2 perfectly sized pillows in the corner – where they obviously had been living for a long time. One was bright pink! I pointed them out and he was surprised to see them. How did he not see them or remember they were there, right in front of his face? Of course, he was looking at the same stuff he sees everyday – on autopilot. I was looking with fresh eyes since it’s not my place. On the other hand, at my house, I can’t find my phone if I don’t put it in one of my usual spots! As we drove out to his new home, over an hour away, I was driving through a new area I wasn’t familiar with. As I drove, I realized I FELT differently and I could SEE differently.  As I turned my attention to this larger world outside of my usual sights and streets of Boulder County, I started to feel bigger, more spacious. I was more aware of the road, the cars, the landscape. Expansion! My filters changed as my awareness and attention changed. I was less in my head and more present with myself and my surroundings. And it was lovely.

It’s one thing to do it on a road trip or when in a new place. But what about tapping into that expansiveness anywhere, anytime? To keep coming back to our conscious awareness and attention takes practice. It’s not about never “going away”; it’s about coming back over and over again. There is a wonderful book I came across by Arjuna Ardagh, called Leap Before You Look: 72 shortcuts for getting out of your mind and into the moment. I found this shortcut to be helpful to build my skills of awareness and attention. Try it out for yourself and let me know how it is for you.

Expand Peripheral Vision (pg 3)

In the midst of your busy day, stop.

Sit quietly with your eyes open.

Look at any object before you.

Now take an in-breath and expand your vision

To include what is immediately to the left and the right of that object.

With the out-breath, relax and settle into yourself.

Take another in-breath and expand your vision even more

To include everything that’s before you, in an arc of about ninety degrees.

Breathe out and settle further into yourself.

Take another in-breath and include your entire field of vision.

Your attention is equally distributed between what is in front of you

And all of your peripheral vision.

Expand it even more to include things not just to the left and the right,

But even things over your shoulders.

Expand beyond what your eyes can see.

With the out-breath, relax completely into being that which sees all.

Remain like this, breathing softly, for several minutes.

Feel the mystery of your own essence.




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