Recently a piece of homework, set by the tutor of a poetry class I am attending brought home to me how much of life we miss simply through lack of attention.
At first I must admit that I began the task a little reluctantly but soon I found myself to be completely absorbed in the art of looking and listening to the sights and sounds of life all around me.
What started off as an exercise in creative writing turned out to be so much more as I was filled with an unexpected feeling of total joy. Too often our lives become so cluttered with thoughts about life that there is little room left to appreciate the simple pleasures of being alive.
Too easily we can spend our days lost in a haze of future plans and/or worries and concerns about life that the beauty and wonder of even having a life in the first place is overlooked.
Being mindful, that is filling our minds with what is happening in the present moment, is a deeply refreshing alternative to being lost in thought and is the best way I know of to develop an appreciative response to life.
Days after completing my homework I find that I am still being drawn to notice things in more detail: the deep blue of the delphiniums in the garden, the arc of wisteria climbing the wall, the sparrows nibbling at the bird feeder, the sound of children’s laughter drifting over the garden fences, the vast expansiveness of the sky, the scent of jasmine, the cuckoo's song.........and amongst all this a gentle and pervasive sense of being a part of it all.
The words of a well know poem by W.H Davies comes to mind:
‘What is this life if full of care
We have no time to stand and stare?’
My advice is simple – make time to stand and stare....and then perhaps share with others what has caught your attention?
The opinions I express here are my own. However I offer them with the word 'syat' next to them. 'Syat' is a word used by the Jain Tribe in India which means 'To the best of my knowledge SO FAR.' In the spirit of openness I invite comments from anyone whether you agree with my point of view or not. In this way we can all learn and grow together. Thank you.