How in touch are you with the simple things? Isn’t it easy to get lost in thoughts and feelings, and not see and appreciate what is right in front of you?
I did an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction course a few years ago, and the very first thing you do on this course is to eat one raisin mindfully (!?) It doesn’t matter what you think while you do it, you simply follow the instructions and spend up to 10 minutes holding the raisin, looking at the raisin, tasting the raisin, and then finally, you swallow it. All very slowly. I don’t think you know what your reaction is going to be before you have tried it for yourself! Some people find it silly, boring, and get very impatient. Others might enjoy the experience! However, since most people often eat several raisins at a time, when you eat only one, what often comes out of this experience is that you suddenly realise all the things you miss out on on a normal day. Things you might label as small and unimportant, but that can actually have a big effect on you.
I have only been to a few meditation retreats, and one of them lasted for five days. At this particular retreat, that meant five days without speaking to anyone, no reading or writing, just eating, meditating, sleeping – i.e. simply being. You can’t distract yourself by switching on the TV, listening to some music or checking your phone. It can be pretty challenging 🙂 But hey, you learn a lot about yourself, about where your thoughts go most of the time, and how your feelings come and go.
One afternoon, we were outside walking in silence. I felt overwhelmed by sad thoughts, sad feelings, I was feeling very low. Then suddenly, this tiny little flower appeared in front of me in the grass. It was as if it was using all its energy to stretch up towards me to say “See me! See me!”. I just had to smile. My sad thoughts and emotions disappeared immediately.
Wow. Life is gorgeous. It is so easy to get completely lost in challenging thoughts and feelings and get stuck there. Luckily, the world is full of beautiful small things that can help us out of that state, we just have to remember to open to our senses.