“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
When you look at a stranger, what do you see? Do you see the clothes they’re wearing, noting the style or how expensive they are? Do you see their age? Do you see them as attractive or unattractive? Do you see them as potentially someone to avoid or someone to approach? When you see another person, do you quickly assess them on their appearance, and label them as this kind of person or that kind of person? Do you even take the time to see them at all?
Generally speaking, most of us do some combination of the above frequently. We rarely have time to look more deeply. What would happen if we did? Would we see their struggles and hardships in the lines of their face? Would we see the joy in their smile? Would we see the stress in the way they carry their body? Would we see a need for comfort? Would we see their value? Would we see the love they have for their friends or children? Would we see their potential? If we saw their anger, would we also see their fear?
Throughout our day we look at many things. However, in our busyness, we often don’t have the time, motivation, or habit, to take a deeper look. When we look at the sunrise, do we see the gift of another day? When we look at someone struggling, do we see an opportunity to help? When we look our mistakes, do we see the opportunity to grow? When we look at the difficulties in our world, do we see opportunities to improve it? When we look at an act of kindness, do we see the ripples of love flowing from one to another?
Today I invite you to pause at least three times to look deeply at whatever is in front of you and note what you see. What you can learn from whatever it is that you’re looking at? I encourage you to do this as frequently as possible, but at least three times today. John Bruna, February 8, 2016
The above is a an excerpt from one the daily emails sent to the members of the Mindful Life Community. I invite you to explore our community and consider joining.