One of the most important things I've learned in my 70 years of living is this: the world is way more interesting than I am.
So the more I can get out of my head, and into what surrounds me, the happier I am. By and large. There are exceptions to every rule, including this one.
As I've noted before, and surely will note again, mindfulness has become my meditation. I'm no longer seeking enlightenment, mystical uplift, or even self-knowledge.
In fact, I don't believe that I have, or am, an enduring self. The world exists. I exist. When I'm fully aware of the world, that's enough for me.
Sure, I also spend time aware of my thoughts, emotions, memories, anticipations, and such. These internal experiences just have come to seem less real, less absorbing, and less interesting than what lies outside of me.
Today's guided meditation on my iPhone's Calm app was titled Immersion. Tamara Levitt ended the meditation with the following words. I liked them so much, I transcribed what she said to share in this blog post.
Immersion -- part of a guided meditation by Calm's Tamara Levitt
By quieting our mind and body and tuning in, we can open up to our inner landscape. And in doing so we also develop the capacity to be fully present with our external environment.
When we really notice our surroundings, we can tune in to a universe of detail, discovering magic in places we normally pass through on autopilot.
And we don't have to be at the top of a mountain. Our practice can help us find that fascination even in the mundane places we go each day.
The next time you find yourself in a familiar setting, use your practice to see it anew.
You might be standing on a subway platform, sitting in your car waiting for the light to change, or standing in a cafe waiting for your morning coffee.
First, make a conscious effort to slow down and tune in to your senses.
Let them fully immerse you in your environment. Get really present, and tune into the orchestra of sounds around you. Take in all the sights and smells. Notice any movements. The spin of a ceiling fan. The quiver of a beam of light coming in the window.
Take in the sounds, the voices, or vehicle. Notice the expressions on people's faces. Observe colors and patterns with an intricacy you never had before.
Pour over all the details of this space you've seen a million times before, but have never really seen. And then bring that attentiveness into your day. And see what happens. Who knows what moments you might capture.
A furry caterpillar climbing on a leaf. A sunset. Or a new friend sitting right beside you.
To quote from the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."