Sunday Lifestyle

Paying attention

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE - Jim Paredes - The Philippine Star

To see the World in a Grain of Sand and Heaven in a Wild Flower Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand and Eternity in an hour. “Auguries of Innocence” by William Blake

Today, my eyes are opened to the littlest details I see. I am trying to notice everything, to really look at the world with the freshest of eyes.

Is that even possible? Yes. I do this often.

When I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders, I break the world down into parts I can handle.

I look around me and I am filled with fascination. Sometimes, I see the beauty and the reverence in all things.

As I write this, I am looking at the tree outside my window and pondering the beauty and complexity of its being. How does it grow? What is the process? How does the relationship between the tree and the soil make it grow? Why are there so many different types of trees?

Its branches are swaying with the light breeze as I look at it. Where did the pollen that found its way on this spot to someday become a tree come from? Or maybe it was planted by someone years ago. How can God create something as beautiful as this?

Why does it make me sigh? How is it that something like this tree, which can hardly catch my attention on certain days, can suddenly seem like my entire universe?

Why do I feel a song in my heart as I marvel at it?

I also often wonder about the paths I walk along in life. Sometimes I think they were put there for me. I know I still choose the path I take, but I wonder if someone set it there even before I started walking on it.

Could it be that someone actually walks with me at all times? Is this why I feel like I’m being “guided”?

Why do I feel that I am not alone when I pray, wish for, or create anything? Is it possible that no one actually creates anything by himself?

Often, as an artist, when I summon inspiration, it shows up. I am helped along by something or someone. It always happens and I trust it. And I try to apply this summoning and trusting in daily living, as best I can. I still have a lot to learn in this wider arena.

Sometimes, days, weeks, months, years can pass, and we feel that life has nothing new to offer. We are mostly in “passive” mode, waiting for blessings to come or way. We want life to bring us gifts and we expect these gifts to look a certain way or to be within our expectations. But often, when they do show up, it is not as we expect them to be. And we are disappointed that our prayers have not been answered.

During such times, I remind myself that something important is happening. I am being led to something else, away from what I expected. I am being asked to go along and trust the process. It is a new challenge and it can be scary.

One of the spiritual exercises I try to do, mentally, is to look at the world without any judgment or opinions. It is difficult, but I just try and allow things to unravel in the present, without me coming from any past experience to color it with judgment. I let the moment open by itself and show up without any contamination from the past.

The result can be amazing: things are always new, and I come from somewhere fresh. I have spontaneous feelings, like I am having an entirely new experience, not a repetition of anything I’ve known before.

I feel alive, reborn, child-like, and it cleans the lens of my perception.

The quality of our lives depends on what — and how — we pay attention to things. If we see everything as a mere repetition of things past, they will seem like repetitions of things past. But if we see them as coming from a moment that has never happened before and will never happen again, the world becomes a magical and holy place. We will act with great awareness and attention. And everything around us will feel holy.

If you look into things deeply and imagine where they came from, you will stumble upon the serendipity that brought them into your world. The people who made each thing have their own unique life situations and they released their creations into the world without knowing where they would end up. Look at the meal before you, the chair you sit on, the glass on the table, the table itself. When you look at everything this way, their ordinariness evaporates and everything becomes… special.

The key to this is to pay attention. The transformation actually happens not in the outside world, but inside ourselves. We give life the awareness it deserves.

And that is something awesome.













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