Have you ever felt that you are zipping past through life in such a hurry that you don’t even get the time to enjoy the journey? Have you ever rushed to your destination amid traffic and the person you went to meet asks you “Did you notice the amazing new park they build along the way?” And you have no idea about the road, the different buildings you passed by or the different people around you while you were on the way.
This is how most of us are in life. Too busy in reaching the destination that we miss the journey altogether. We would not remember even the smallest things about the journey, forget about enjoying the ride!! But why so? Obviously our eyes were open and on the road the whole way? So we watched everything that was along the way, but we can’t remember a thing. Maybe our mind was so occupied in other things that we missed the beauty of that moment. We were just watching and not observing.
Another way of being is to live fully in the moment and observing. So the next time you are driving through traffic, observe the trees on the road beside you, observe the cloud pattern above you and listen to the birds chirping and making a pattern overhead. Observe people around you, and you might see a young couple walking hand in hand, or a kid playing with his mom in the car next to you, or the conductor issuing tickets to passengers in the bus ahead of you.
We normally don’t do this because it seems like a futile exercise. What will we gain from it? There doesn’t seem to be anything ‘productive‘ about it. But sometimes sitting peacefully and observing is all we need to clear our mind of all the unnecessary thoughts of our daily life. It is more like getting out of our own body and watching people pass through their life as we do mostly. We will observe our rationalizations, our reasons, and a reflection of ourself in the people around us. We will realize how small issues and thoughts control us over the period of a day. How small problems turn into big frustrations and how we become driven by them instead of letting them go? Just by observing and doing nothing, we can see our problems in a totally different perspective.
The same goes for reading and studying. We are packed with so much information these days as there are news, articles and videos coming along our way every second. Many of us are studying very hard to clear that exam or to get that dream job. We might even be doing an extra evening or distance learning course with our work. The purpose of education is learning, but often it gets limited to reading and studying and we miss the most important part – learning. I believe that the biggest teacher is life, and that there is no need to go to college or attend lectures or read books if you really want to learn. In the world around us, there are many examples of such people. Every second of our life, every person we meet can teach us something. But only if we are open to learn from all such opportunities.
It can make a lot of difference in our days if we observe instead of watching, and learn instead of studying or reading. For example, we take the same steps of stairs every day to reach our doorstep, and we watch it daily. Maybe we have seen it hundreds of times. But how many of us can tell how many stairs are there till the door? If we really stay open to the inputs received by our senses (and not just our vision), we can let in a lot more than we do now. But we walk around with dark glasses on our eyes and headphones in our ears and miss everything this beautiful world has to offer. And then we go out seeking the same beauty or knowledge in books.
In the next few days and weeks, observe and be aware of your senses and I bet you will be surprised to see the difference it makes to the quality of your life.