So often you look without seeing. It’s as if your eyes are turned inward rather than outward – you are consumed in thought, not absorbed in what is before you.
Sometimes if you are open to experience, and present to what lies before you, it is possible to experience an awakening awareness of the beauty that surrounds you.
M.L. Stedman illustrates this exquisitely in their best-selling novel, “The Light Between the Oceans”. The light refers to a lighthouse off the coast of Western Australia which is positioned between the intersection of two oceans, The Indian Ocean and The Great Southern Ocean. In describing a particular location, one of the book’s characters recalls how they “had been struck by the emptiness of this place, like a blank canvas, when they arrived”.
However as awareness gradually dawned, they came to see the place through the eyes of others, “attuning to the subtle changes”:
The clouds, as they formed and grouped and wandered the sky; the shape of the waves, which would take their cue from the wind and the season and could, if you knew how to read them, tell you the next day’s weather.
This is the power of skilled novelists and people like Louie Schwartzberg, the time lapse photographer, who enable us to look at nature through their lens and see it as they see it.
So it is often possible to just stop what you are doing, however briefly, to take in the beauty that surrounds you. In this way, you begin to build mindfulness practice.