Stop and See…and Become Aware

By Kristen K. Brown

Most human beings have an absolute and infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”  Aldous Huxley

I knew I was in a routine rut when my two-and-a-half year old daughter started pointing out landmarks and telling me which way to turn while driving this week.   “There’s McDonald’s.  Yellow light – slow down.  Turn left now.” She dictated as I drove on autopilot to “our grocery store”.  That got me to thinking about tunnel vision. 

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”  Robertson Davies

How many times a week do we drive by the same landmarks, stop at the same place for coffee, shop at the same stores – all the while feeling like we are being productive and active citizens of the world by being out in it, yet never taking a moment to look around at what else surrounds us?  I’m not talking about the other retail stores we could shop at or alternate paths we could take to work, but the whole world that surrounds us – other people, animals, flowers, trees, soil, air, and sky.  And not just taking note of the new things we see but really being aware that those things also exist outside of our own tunnel of vision as well.  They exist for the person across the street.  They exist for celebrities in Hollywood.  And they exist for entire societies on the other side of the globe. 

There are other people sharing this Earth with us who are also going to work, running errands, and living their lives equally as “tunnel-visioned” as the rest of us.  But what we need to remember is that everything and everyone are not separate entities that are just co-existing.  All of the people and all of the objects on this planet are made up of energy, vibrating particles with unique properties that make a rabbit a rabbit, a rock a rock and a human a human.  However, it doesn’t end there.  The individual particles that come together to form something bigger (like rabbits, rocks and humans) are connected to each other too. 

“Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience.”

            George Bernard Shaw

There are many theories out there that try to explain the interconnectedness of the world, but the basic idea is that everything out there in the universe is humming with energy that connects us to each other and to everything around us.  So when we’re carrying out common tasks that we normally do without much thought, like picking out the same apples we buy every time we go to the same grocery store on the same day of every week, we need to open our eyes and appreciate the true complexity of our world.  That apple you eat everyday for lunch came from an orchard somewhere owned by people who rely on your apple purchases to live.  And the tree that produced that apple was pollinated by bees.  Bees are dying out and someday, possibly in the near future, their absence could threaten our food supplies and apples might not be able to grow anymore.  So next time you see a bee, don’t kill it because you personally depend on them for your own livelihood. 

That is an extreme example, but by making small shifts in our levels of awareness and involvement in our life’s activities, we can begin to see our everyday existence in new ways.  When mowing the lawn, don’t get sucked into feeling resentful because you hate doing it, but instead try to do it quickly to minimize the impact of pollution on the environment.  Try to do as little damage to surrounding plant life as possible because other insects and animals live there.  And stretch out the time between mowing.  It is better for the health of the grass, the lawn will require less watering and you will be doing something to improve the world you are connected to in every molecule of your body. 

This universal interconnectedness can bring us inner and outer peace and happiness knowing we aren’t alone on this crazy ride through life.   And next time my daughter asks, “Where are we going?” I will answer, “I’m not sure yet.  I’ll tell you when we get there.”  And I will appreciate and try to be aware of everything that surrounds us on our journey.

Kristen Brown

 

Kristen Brown is a widow mom and the founder of WidowMommy.com, an author, entrepreneur, radio host and speaker. Learn more about her and her companies at www.KristenKBrown.com.

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