Monday, May 19, 2008

In the Moment: Here and Now

One of the greatest factors to successful observation is to learn to stay in the moment. Too often, when our body is in a natural environment, our head is somewhere else, fretting about work or household details or a relationship or some problem or issue. But if your brain is elsewhere occupied on other things, it cannot be fully present observing and analyzing and enjoying nature. It takes practice to push the other things away temporarily and stay in the moment, focusing on what is happening in the here and now, to focus on the senses and the present, ignoring past memories and future worries. To block all thoughts of other times and places and things allows the thoughts to be flooded with sensations of the present time and place and frees the brain to sense all the details of the place. This sort of thing requires practice. As soon as you notice that you are not in the present, you must forcefully push the other thoughts away and refocus on where you are and what you are experiencing. To do this over and over means that your brain soon fills with the sensations of the present and that in itself helps block out the intruding thoughts. But you must be wary of this effect of other things creeping in and consciously keep yourself present in the current time and current place so that you can absorb its rich details. Sometimes for some people, if they just cannot stop thinking of other things, it helps them to take a small notepad along so that they can make note of the concern or issue or thought. They find that once it is written down, they can more easily push it aside, because they know it is safely in the notebook to be retrieved later. We often say we need to ‘get away’ to relax but then we bring it all with us. Daily practice of shutting it out for just a short amount of time and letting in other things from our environment can have benefits far beyond enjoying nature in greater detail. It can have a calming balancing effect on ones whole life.

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