The "Practical Spirituality" Newspaper

The Art of Noticing

In Homework, Study Group on April 23, 2009 at 11:15 am

img_6870In this weeks study group, we discussed what I call ‘the art of noticing’. Now, this practice involves one deceptively simple thing – noticing your experiences. Your thinking, ‘what’s so hard about that?’ am I right?

Noticing is not as easy as it sounds. And is indeed an art form and something to practice – in fact it’s the ONLY practice we do in my classes! Noticing means that you become aware your experiences – from leaves falling from trees to the fact that the dishwater is a little too hot for your hands. Now the tricky part is to continue noticing and remain in a state of ‘open awareness’ – that means that your senses remain open to everything that is going on and therefore not limited to any one point of focus.

So why would you practice ‘noticing’? ( And why would I have given the study group this as homework for the next 10 weeks? ) In noticing, you are really training the mind to pay attention to ‘the truth of what is’. By remaining passively aware one draws in a great deal more information about ones life experiences.

The strength of the practice doesn’t so much come from what you are doing… it comes from what you are NOT doing! By paying atttention to ‘the simple truths of life’ and remaining attentive to these, you are not labelling your experiences, making up stories about what is going on, judging your life or criticizing yourself. In fact your not indulging in a whole host of illusions. You just are simply present. By practicing to be present – which you more or less have train your mind out of – you notice events as they arise and therefoe can respond accurately, quickly and sensibly. try doing that if you are feeding yourself half truths and misguided stories about your life… and yourself.

Try the practice yourself. Simply spend the week noticing. Notice the sky. Notice the trees. Notice your cranky feelings. Notice everything. Notice that your sick and tired of noticing. Noticing allows you to follow the truth as it unfolds – an enlightening practice. notice your truth but don’t do anything about it just yet… allow the whole story to come to you first before you respond ( react ).

Spend the week noticing what is.

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