When I was a small boy, I could sometimes be heard complaining both to teachers at school and to my parents that I was bored with whatever activity happened to be going on.
Both my teachers and my parents usually came up with the stock answer which went something like this:-
"If you are finding it boring, that is because you are boring."
This didn't really help much, and usually left me still feeling bored and now also feeling a nice helping of resentment for whoever had just said that.
But years later I can see that they had something, even if they did not know how to express it to me in a way that I could grasp at that time.
When I was in my early twenties I read my first book about Creative Visualisation. This was a few years before some clever marketing person thought up the phrase ‘The Law of Attraction'. The basic technique of creative visualisation is to sit quietly and visualise an ideal future in which your desire or desires have come true. An important part of the technique is to try to employ all the five senses so that the visualised scene becomes realistic and exciting.
I don't want to go into the Law of Attraction here, you can find out my views about it in other articles on this website.
What I want to talk about is the employment of all the senses. How often do we ever do that here and now? How often to we really engage with this moment using all our five senses? How often do we really engage with it using even just one of the senses fully and alertly? I would suggest that for most the answer is not very often at all.
Often we are lost in thought. Thinking about the past or about the future, about what has happened or about what might happen. So lost in thought that we are not really using any of the five senses. There may be a vague sense of what is visually in front of us, but we are not really looking. There may be many sounds all around but we are not really listening. We scoff down our lunch and never really taste it or savour the wonderful aroma. We hold hands with our partner or child but never really feel them. We walk through a field dotted with flowers but never really smell the myriad scents.
If any of you have a dog, watch when you take it for a walk. You may take it to the same place every time, but for the dog it is always fascinating, always new. Why? Because the dog is paying full attention, not missing a thing. New sights and sounds and smells and feelings and tastes that you are totally missing.
"Right outside your door are countless wonderful things patiently waiting for you to step out of thought and take a look." Swifty Flame-Anderson
Some writers refer to this as not being PRESENT. It is not that the present moment is boring, it is just that you have stopped paying any attention to it. You have started taking so many things totally for granted. As my teachers would have said, you have become boring.
Realising that, I have recently been spending some time paying attention again, like I did as a very small child, full of wonder. I have been visualising not about an imaginary future, but right here, right now.
I thoroughly recommend it. If you just start to pay attention again, you will realise that right here and now is always utterly wonderful and miraculous. In those moments you will forget all about imaginary futures either positive or negative. In those moments of attention or awareness you will remember what it means to once again be totally alive.
"WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?" W.H. Davies
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