Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mindless Or Mindful

Walking through Blue Springs State Park yesterday, there were many squirrels running around, gathering nuts and making all kinds of noise in the brush. It was fun to just stop and watch them scurry about as if they were working quickly because of approaching danger or bad weather.

As we were walking along watching the squirrels, I heard comments from others saying, "I wonder what that is down there. It must be an armadillo or something." All the time, I am thinking that all these people have to do is just stop and observe what is around them. It was not that difficult to see the squirrels but you did have to stop for a moment.

Of course we observed people hurrying along the little board walk trail like they had to get all the park in in less than 1 hour or something. Most people were talking or had their phones out texting messages. Some were upset that they could not get close to the spring although from the viewing points, you could see quite a bit. Most were completely oblivious to the environment they were in as they walked along in a mindless fashion.

Then as we were walking back, a squirrel with a nut tucked in his mouth came running along the path in front of us. He was between where we were at and some other people coming our way. There is no way you could have missed him because you almost had to step over him. As we watched the squirrel with glee, we observed that no one else saw him. Everyone was too busy in their own little mindless worlds to watch something beautiful before their eyes.

It got me to think for a moment of just how mindless we as humans are in our day. Here was a perfect moment and place to just be mindful and sit back and observe all that was around everyone. To hear the birds sing, watch the squirrels play and run or listen to the wind rustle through the trees was a free gift that just wanted to be observed and accepted.

In our culture and society, we spend so many hours a day watching TV, playing on our iphones or other electronic devices that we fail to observe all that is around us. We are more concerned with what a screaming, angry pundit is saying on TV than we are indulging in all that is around us which shows us something greater than ourselves is there for our lives. As a culture, we are too busy rushing here and there that we cannot even take a moment to be mindful of all that is around us or that we can stop and breathe for one moment in time.

In return, we spend countless hours chasing false illusions of health care and endeavors that give us nothing in return. We spend our days walking around mindless which robs us of the enjoyable moments of life. Our lives are full of stress, to do lists and moments where our body just wants to say, enough already - please stop and let me rest!

When we go through our days being mindful, we begin to notice things that we never saw or heard before. As we mindfully observe these things, we begin to realize that life has so much more to offer and all we have to do is slow down and stop to take part in it. Being mindful is really that easy and that difficult to do.

So why not try something different this week. Take a day and find a park or some quiet place that you can just observe and be mindful. Maybe if you live in an area where the weather is not good, you could just stare out the window at the clouds or trees or whatever it is that you see. There are many ways to do this and finding them is being mindful because it means you are in the moment. If you do this, you might just surprise yourself in that it will offer so much to you that you never truly realized existed.

Further Reading on Mindfulness:
  1. Mindful Of Our Moments
  2. Mindfully Present
  3. Author Ellen Langer on Mindfulness

Blog Post & Images (c) 1/4/11 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

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