You’ve had the experience, haven’t you, of becoming aware of something that’s always been there but hadn’t caught your attention? A photograph on the wall of your favorite restaurant, a colleague’s shoes, a tree limb sticking out over the road. Or as the bird in the photo, your shadow on the wet sand. Why do you all of a sudden notice?
I think of these instances as little reminders to be in the present moment – to shift thoughts from the past or future. Letting go of such thoughts opens up a stream of possibilities. My heart quickens and I sense an excitement as if I’ve just met a new love. Often these moments hold a phrase or image that becomes a poem. Just being aware creates newness, a creative inspiration.
When we meditate, we are not waiting for those random moments; we are creating the environment for them to happen. A very simple method of meditation is to notice what you notice. As you sit in your favorite quiet spot, begin by being aware of your surroundings. Take in the colors and textures, the sounds and smells. A squirrel scratching at the earth to dig up a nut; the dusty odor of the furnace coming on; a soft warmth on your cheek from the sunlight filtering in through the blinds. Whatever you notice, just catalog it in your mind as something interesting. Don’t do anything. In fact resist the temptation to swipe at the cobweb, or adjust the thermostat.
With each new sense that you notice, watch where your thoughts go. Maybe you remember something painful. If so, then notice the pain. Where is it located in your body? What stories does your mind start telling you? Be curious about the pain as if it is the first time you’ve experienced it.
Whether the dusty odor of the furnace makes you want to go down and change the air filter, or you associate it with a visit at nasty Aunt Beulah’s, the key is to be inquisitive about what you notice and not judgmental. Judgment is what takes us out of the present moment and squelches our relaxation. So, allow the mind to roam freely. Just keep noticing where it goes and what impact it has on your body and your emotional state.
Be a pioneer within yourself. Each thought is new. Each sense experience is new. Each breath is as new as the infant’s first breath. Enjoy the wonder and meditate.