I noticed something interesting today, about the mind and it’s effect on the eyes, on our capacity to see and be present with what we see. As I lay outside at my father’s place here in Thailand today, I noticed a tree which was the predominant object within my field of vision. I realized, however, that it didn’t appear very sharp to my vision. I realized in that moment that it did not appear sharp because I was thinking about something else. As soon as I stopped thinking about that something else, the tree emerged in its beauty, with light dancing across its leaves wearing multiple hues of green. I played with it a little, thinking about things and watching my eyes lose their ability to see whatever was in front of me, and then stopping and watching them magically reappear.The unfortunate thing is, I fear, that I/we walk through our lives dwelling so firmly in our minds, that we actually spend very little time truly seeing anything. Obviously we see things all the time, but there is a huge and distinct difference between seeing something and truly perceiving it. How beautiful everything in the world becomes when our minds are clear and we allow our eyes to actually see what is right there in front of us. In fact, if I were to extrapolate some here, my hunch/experience tells me that when our minds are full of ideas and preconceptions, that we almost always fail to see the people in our lives as they actually are. I have a little mantra I say occasionally while visiting my father here and at other times in my life where I fear I may be falling into that trap of not seeing people as they are. The mantra is “every moment new,” and it seems to help me to break free of preconditioning thoughts and see the moment and the person as something new, something to be discovered all over again.
So how do we get to the place where we are truly seeing clearly, seeing what is actually before our eyes, without an overlay from the past, or expectations about the present or future? I guess meditation is a start as it can be a form of exercise, an exercise in paying attention, being still, letting the thoughts go so one can remain present to the every present beauty of the moment. In the moment, my experience is that if we are present to it, fully attending to it in a simple way, that everything appears beautiful, everything. I know you may try to come up with examples to the contrary, and perhaps thre are caveats, but perhaps not.
It’s an amazing world and life that we have if we can only learn to stop our minds from running like mad so that our senses can actually perceive. I noticed it today with seeing, but the same probably holds true for smelling, hearing, tasting. Hopefully we’ve all had the experience with intimacy with another where time and thoughts stop and our sense of touch and appreciation is greatly enhanced. This is how I wish to live, and these realizations will hopefully provide more incentive to spend more consistent time meditating, and regular effort to awaken from the consistent stupor-inducing blather of the mind to a world of full sensation.
This evening, after I had the experience I just wrote about with the tree, Sandra served ice cream with cherries in cherry sauce. I noticed while eating it how sublimely magnificent it was. How it felt in my body as I tasted it as a distilled feeling of intense pleasure. We fail all too often to attend to whatever our experience is, and as a result, I fear we lose out on deep joys and pleasures. It’s nice to be alive.