Seeing With New Eyes
How many times have you driven to a destination and realized upon arrival that you don’t recall most of the sights along the way?
Jon, a patient of mine, was experiencing difficulty connecting to his life. He wasn’t really depressed, just a bit “checked out.”
Jon is in his late fifties and a “techie” in a high-powered job. He struggled with “feeling” his life outside of the office. Jon has no glaring health challenges. He is happy being single, he goes on dates, and he exercises regularly, meditates, and lives pretty clean.
It is after work that Jon has trouble being in the moment, unwinding, and shifting gears.
Jon is able to completely relax during his acupuncture treatment, and although he reported feeling mentally calmer for a day or two after his treatments, he was still not really noticing his life. We started talking about ways for him to relate to the world outside of the office. I prescribed a seeing and listening meditation.
I find it quite commonplace that as people go about living their lives inside and outside of their homes, they forget to notice the inherent beauty around them.
Do you remember a time when you were in the mountains or by the sea, enjoying the unique sounds and smells?
I asked Jon to start paying attention to the everyday sights and sounds around him, from the moment he woke up until the moment he went to bed at night. This could be as simple as gazing into the ocean, looking up into the endless sky when he took his runs or simply feeling the fresh air as it circulated freely around him walking from his car into his office.
Most of us feel lifted and more alive after time spent in nature. Nature presents us with the most obvious forms of beauty, yet beauty is everywhere and it’s in the eye of the beholder. Many find beauty within the dynamics of a wonderful conversation. Some of us find beauty in the arts: literature, cinema, theatre, sculpture, painting, photography, and music. Music is the source of much pleasure and beauty, as it has the ability to transport the listener to another time or another place of cherished memory.
The pleasure of movement is another portal that allows us to get in touch with our own bodies. A slow or brisk walk or bike ride allows us to take in the sights and smells of our immediate environment. When you do this, notice the trees, their myriad shades of color, and the types of foliage surrounding you. Each season brings with it changing colors. Give your attention to the new light and changing fragrances.
All of us have the unique ability to see and feel the wonders of our world if we allow ourselves to slow down and pay attention.
I saw Jon six weeks after our last session. He felt so much more in touch with the world around him and noticed, for the first time, the birds that sang outside his living room window in the first light of morning.