Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Being Observant

Did you know that being observant can make you happier? Can make your life more peaceful? Can give you more control of your emotions? It can and does.  Recently I have realized that being observant is one of the most useful skills to acquire. It's true.

Normally we live our lives on cruise control. Things happen, we react. We see a Facebook post, it makes us angry.  We do things, and our minds are on something else.  We eat dinner but don't taste what we eat because we are thinking of what to do next. Things happen in our lives that take away our happiness, our peace, our control, and because we are not observant we don't do anything about it. 

I don't know how this came about but the last few months I have been able to observe myself and my life more. It may have something to do with my meditation practice. Meditation often is about becoming more skillful in watching thoughts and life as it comes and goes. I catch myself noticing events and I catch myself not noticing what I have just done (which also is important). 

I live in the very noisy and crowded Vietnamese city of Nha Trang for a good part of the year. Transportation for me is on my motor bike. The Vietnamese, and now the Russians living here, use their horns constantly. Usually to announce their presence and to get out of their way. (In all fairness, not all Vietnamese do this.) I generally get angry at the rudeness. Recently I catch myself, notice my useless emotions, and seeing that they do not make me feel better, I let them go. 

At first the noticing was occasional. Then it became more and more. I began noticing the noticing and that the more I noticed the more I was in control of my reactions to events in my life.

Seeing that this was making me feel better I have attempted to expand my noticing and observing. It works. It works while doing pleasant things too, like eating or getting a massage. The experience becomes richer and more enjoyable.

Becoming more observant and developing the skill of noticing things may be one of the more important abilities we can acquire. It can really make you happier. It can help you do what is important to you, not what you have been conditioned to do. And life can become more peaceful. 

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