I ran into a friend the other day who was off on a white water rafting trip. It wasn’t her first, she loves it. “I feel so alive, the cold water, the air, the rapids, so in the moment!” she said.
I realized this was her mindfulness practice. Her place to feel fully present, alive, fresh and new. Nothing else to think about but now.
What if we could always live like that? It would be wonderful, but unfortunately I’ve never met anyone who could. We have a mind that wanders, past, future, and everywhere else when it lets loose.
But we can bring the quality of novelty into our daily lives. We can start to notice what we haven’t noticed before, what has been here all along.
Take this story:
In a Washington, DC Metro Station, Joshua Bell, one of the world’s greatest violinists, played a beautiful, intricate, moving piece on a violin worth over 3 million dollars. During the 43 minutes he played, 1,097 people walk by. Only seven stopped to listen, and even those seven paused for only a few minutes. Two days before, Joshua Bell had played the same music to a sold-out audience in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each. His minimum fee for playing a public concert was $75,000. How could so many people have walked by?
Because they were too busy to stop. How many amazingly beautiful things do we miss in a day, simply because of the pace of our lives and the intense focus on getting to the next thing?
Look around you now. What have you not noticed before in a room you have probably sat hundreds if not thousands of times.
What can you taste, smell and see in your food today that you never noticed before?
Who are you talking to? Have you really taken time to know them?
It doesn’t take any more time to bring mindful attention to your life. It just sharpens your lens.
Slow down, breathe and notice what you have missed. Enjoy your day,
ps. In this video from BigThink, Daniel Goleman describes how neuroscientist Richard Davidson, his co-author on the book Altered Traits, measured the brainwaves of advanced meditators. Davidson found their brainwaves showed never-before-seen levels of gamma, one of the strongest types of brain waves, theorized to appear when the different regions of the brain harmonize.
We get bursts of gamma brain waves when we do something new like bite into an apple or solve a problem, when all our senses come into harmony for a brief moment. Hmmm… that’s what my friend was doing on a raft pummelling down a river!
Want more gamma? Check out my new class…