Mindfulness is a state of being that involves compassionately and non-judgmentally focusing on the present moment. Noticing and appreciating life’s small wonders can be easy to overlook in the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day lives, which is why learning to practice mindful seeing can be incredibly beneficial. Mindful seeing is about taking time to really notice our environments, both natural and manmade, in a non-judgmental way. By taking the time to observe our surroundings, we can be more present and cultivate a sense of appreciation and gratitude for our world.
In this article, we’ll discuss what mindful seeing is, the benefits of practicing it, and some tips on how to incorporate it into our daily lives. Let’s dive in!
Establishing a Mindful Seeing Practice
A: Setting Aside Time to Be Mindful
When it comes to getting acquainted with mindful seeing, the single most important factor is setting aside the right amount of time to practice. Alright, so maybe it can be daunting to think of carving out a special time slot each day, but it’s worth considering that a mere 10 minutes can have an effect. Imagine a peaceful morning routine, starting your day off with simply being mindful. Start by setting an intention, such as to become aware of the beauty and joy of your surroundings, and stay alert to what’s around you.
You may choose to punctuate the day with mindful check-ins: a few intentional breaths, call it back to the sensation of being in the moment and the task at hand. You can go for a mindful stroll around the block, or become deeply present in everyday activities like having a cup of tea or washing the dishes. Remember that you can practice mindful seeing no matter where you are, you simply need to open your eyes with your full attention and notice the details in whatever’s around you.
B: Benefits of Practice
The best part about mindful seeing is that it is available to all of us, in any given moment. Practicing mindful seeing can help to open up your world and bring more joy and contentment into your life, as you notice more of the small to midsize moments that make up our days.
Taking the time to really notice the world around us can bring us greater appreciation of the natural world, and a sense of belonging in our society. When we set aside time and space to really see the people and places around us, we connect to the bigger picture in a more meaningful way. With regular practice, you may notice a boost in your mood and peace of mind, as you allow more of your natural curiosity and wonder to come through.
Practicing mindful seeing can actually alter your brain chemistry, as your brain forms new neural pathways from the new stimuli and experiences we expose it to. The more we practice mindful seeing, the more we can actively shape our lives by what our eyes take in, taking us away from the familiarity of our own routines and helping us to create exciting new experiences.
Step 1: Choosing an Object to Focus On
When practicing “mindful seeing,” the first decision you’ll need to make is choosing which object you’d like to focus your attention on. There are several different types of objects to choose from.
If you’re looking for something that is especially interesting, you could try focusing on an art piece. Perhaps it could be an oil painting, sculpture, or digital artwork. As you observe the artwork, you can take notice of the colours, shapes, and textures used by the artist to create the piece.
If you’re looking for something more grounded in nature and the tangible, you could identify a plant or a leaf, and observe its intricate design. Take note of the ridges, veins, and contours of the leaf and try to appreciate the beauty of its structure.
Finding an interesting object doesn’t have to be complicated. You can focus on an everyday object in your home or in your office. Perhaps it could be a spoon, a mug, or a pencil. Try to find new details each time you focus on it. Think about the craftsmanship that went into your object, and if its textures and materials were designed to make it visually appealing.
The wonderful thing about mindful seeing is that you can practice it almost anywhere. So, select an object and make the time to appreciate it!
Step 2: Explore Your Attitudes and Beliefs
We can’t talk about mindful seeing without acknowledging the connection between attitude and the ability to really notice our surroundings. Our attitudes and beliefs are like invisible blinders, preventing us from fully connecting with the present moment if they are too fixed.
The good news is that we can cultivate a nonjudgmental attitude that allows us to really see and feel what’s around us without too much interference from our preconceived notions or ideas. To cultivate this attitude, we can bring awareness to our thoughts and observe them without judgment or criticism. A great way to do this is to choose a trigger word or phrase that helps you easily go from judgment to non-judgment. When you start to judge something, repeat your calming phrase in your mind and that will lead you to the mindful seeing that you are seeking.
We can also train ourselves to take in the environment with kindness, noticing anything that stands out or catches your eye. This could be anything from a gorgeous view to an old neighbor we haven’t seen in a while. Acknowledging what we notice helps us tap into our nonjudgmental attitude, providing us with a different perspective on our environment.
The more we practice nonjudgmental awareness, the more we can embrace and enjoy mindful seeing. Remember that it takes time and practice but with a bit of patience and openness, we can transform our relationship with our environment and act as steward to the beautiful world around us.
Step 3: Developing Deeper Awareness
When it comes to mindful seeing, developing a deeper awareness of not just the physical environment but of our own emotions and behaviors is a key step towards truly mastering the practice. So how does one go about this?
a. Becoming aware of emotions and behaviors.
As we go through our day, it’s important to pay attention to our emotional and behavioral reactions to the environment and the situations we encounter. For example, look out for feelings of joy, anger, sadness, discomfort, and more that arise, and also be mindful of any behaviors that emerge in response. It may be helpful to jot notes down throughout the day and review them periodically as you continue building awareness of your inner self.
b. How to stay in the present moment.
Additionally, it’s important that we stay present in the moment and not become distracted. Any time your mind starts to drift, simply bring your attention back to the environment you are experiencing. If your thoughts and feelings do manage to pull you away, simply observe them and come back to the present moment. It can also help to concentrate on your breathing to bring you back to the moment at hand.
By continuously checking in on our emotional and behavioral states, and bringing our mind back to the present moment, we can heighten our mindful seeing experience and become attuned to our innermost thoughts, feelings, and reactions. Doing so can truly revolutionize our relationship with our environment, and take mindful seeing to the next level.
Step 4: Increasing Compassion and Appreciation
The fourth step to mindful seeing is to cultivate a sense of compassion and appreciation – both for the object you are observing and yourself. This can be challenging at first if you’re not used to it, however, it will become easier with regular practice.
When you show compassion for the object you are looking at, allow yourself to feel how the object makes you feel, whether it’s a tree, a flower, or a person. When we look with our feelings, it can open up a whole new level of connection with the object. Acknowledge the beauty and life force present in the object. Show appreciation for the object and its unique qualities.
Cultivating compassion for ourselves is just as important. Reach out with a feeling of kindness towards yourself for taking the time out to observe and appreciate the world around you. It’s easy to be critical and harsh towards ourselves, however, this can inhibit your connection to the beauty of the world. Acknowledge your efforts and the wonderful things that you have done.
The benefits of cultivating compassionate awareness of the objects and ourselves are numerous. Seeing the beauty of the world with compassion helps us to be more in tune with our hearts, allowing us to be more receptive to joy, kindness, and love. When we have a greater appreciation for our surroundings, we can easily become more connected and more in tune with nature’s wonders!
Mindful seeing is a great practice that can help us to observe the world around us in a more meaningful way. We often don’t take the time to really notice things and instead are lost in our inner worlds. By giving ourselves the opportunity to take time to observe the world around us, we can start to appreciate the beauty and complexity of life. With regular practice, mindful seeing can help us to gain fresh perspectives and become more present in the present moment. Practicing mindful seeing can help to reduce stress levels, enhance clarity and foster creativity. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced practitioner, taking time to really notice can lead to a whole new world of exploration. Try it for yourself and see how it helps you to live life with more mindfulness and appreciation!