I was inspired today to write a short article about what I was experiencing as I sat outside on a rainy peaceful morning. I began to think about how we go through our days and get so lost in the minutia of our lives that we forget to open our eyes to see what is going on around us. It occurred to me that no matter what environment you find yourself in; from a stuffy corporate meeting room, to the confines of a tiny jail cell, to the expanses of magical mountain tops, that life, the Universe, is always offering us a gift – a sight to behold.
It might seem easy to see the majesty of the Universe when we are in a forested park, or by a peaceful lake, or walking along a bubbly river bed – but even in these moments, if we keep our metaphorical eyes closed, we will miss the magic being presented to us. Keeping your eyes wide open means that whatever is going on in your life at this time, that you allow yourself to be very present and open to anything that arises, good or bad. Keeping your eyes wide open means that when you notice that you are reliving a past experience or wishing for this moment to be over to get to the next, hopefully better moment, that you pull yourself back into yourself and relax. Keeping your eyes wide open means that you are listening with your inner ear to what is being spoken and keeping all your subtle senses awake to the potential in every moment.
I challenge everyone today to spend the next few hours being totally present in whatever you are doing. If you are in a meeting, painting a house, or picking the kids up from school, use all your senses to observe what is going on around you. What are you smelling? Are you hot, cold, comfortable? Are you listening intently as someone is speaking and giving that person your full attention? Or, are you already thinking about what you will say next and slowly losing the interest in what is being said? Can you hear the laughter afar off, or the song of the lonesome dove nearby? What are you seeing? Did you notice your co-workers warm smile? Did you notice that beauty all around you, whether it be in design, form, texture. or color? What are you tasting? Savor the food as it enters into your mouth. Swish the drink of water around a little and feel the wetness and the coolness of it. Allow your senses be your companions to experience every moment.
By the way, if you just completed this challenge and allowed yourself to be fully present to experience the moment just as it is, then you just performed a wakeful meditation. Meditation is any practice that we do that brings us into alert consciousness. If you liked this exercise, then I also encourage to take this practice deeper by dedicating some time, every day, to either this same type of meditation or to a sitting meditation. If you were able to notice even one small thing today, imagine what new worlds could open up for you with a regular practice of awareness.
Sometimes living with our eyes wide open may seem scary or painful as we sometimes see things that do not make us feel good – but to shut our eyes to these things is to miss the meaning behind them. Try not to label things as good or bad, but just allow them to be as they are. See if this helps to let even those painful moments pass through our experience peacefully, and without leaving the stain of anxiety, fear, or suffering with them.
When we live with our eyes wide open, what begins to happen is we begin to see amazing and wonderful things, more often. The smallest of things can bring us the greatest of joy. The suffering that arises is accepted and we allow it to pass through, leaving us feeling wiser, but peaceful and grateful. New experiences, things we could not have even imagined arise. We notice the love, peace, joy, and laughter in our lives more often. And, we begin to touch others with our presence in wonderful ways, because we are so full of new light and energy.
Finally, when we begin to live with our eyes wide open, we open up our hearts and our minds. Feelings of harshness, impatience, anxiety and stress begin to lessen and melt away. You begin to notice this within days of being very present and living with your metaphorical eyes wide open. Things delight you, touch you, and move you deeper and more frequently. There will be challenges, but you will begin to see these challenges for what they are – opportunities for additional growth and understanding.
I do hope that you take me up on this challenge. You will never regret a moment that you spend living your life with your eyes wide open.