I don’t know about you, but my friends and I have discussions on awareness all the time. Though it’s something that kinda slips off the rails for even the most spiritual of us.
Let’s face it being aware or even starting on the path of awareness is work. Something that most of us are reluctant to do.
The fact of the matter is it’s like anything else. With practice it becomes second nature. Yes you may veer off but the simple fact that it has become a habit brings you back on track relatively quickly.
Maxwell Maltz has a great book on this. It’s called Psycho-Cybernetics. He explains how the mind is capable of keeping us on track. If you haven’t read it check it out.
A couple of years ago I was living in the middle of 200 acres of corn. Just me and my dog, Key-ra. She’s a Rottweiller- Sheppard cross and just a bundle of energy. So the farm was good for both of us. Lots of space for her to run around and lots of forest for us both to wander through.
I had to get out of the city to get clear. It really had just become far too dangerous to my health and my well beng. I’d gotten way to far off track and out of balance.
Anyway, one of our daily rituals was the mail run.
This was a typical old farm. Built in 1895 and still standing. Damn there was even a well in the basement. Along with all the wonder of this place came a third of a mile driveway. Hell in the winter but incredible after the snow was gone. The drifts in the drive got up to four and a half feet one winter. Good thing there was a neighbor with a tractor and a plow.
The sides of this driveway were lined with Maples and a few Oak trees. A real splendor to see at the height of the summer and even more so in the Canadian fall with all the colours.
So key-ra and I and the five adopted cats ( someone dropped them off at the barn one day while I was in town, more on them later) would get together for a walk to the mailbox. She’d come put her head in my lap while I was working at my desk, look up at me and tell me it was time to get the mail. Everyday around one o’clock. Very funny and quite endearing. I’ll put up some pictures soon.
We’d walk out of the house and even before the door was closed the other five moembers of our group of seven would emerge from the barn. The big orange male first, DB, followed by the rest of his crew. Bounding out through the barn door and under the fence. Usually in order and all ready for a jaunt, no matter what the weather.
We must have been quite a sight. The cats running between my legs and the dogs. Key-ra thinking she was just a big cat and the cats looking petrified as she tried to play with them. She is and was a little big for them to handle, though she never hurt the cats, it was a bit rough for them sometimes. Key-ra running at breakneck speed around them wanting them to play.
Starting off past the big yellow shed we’d head up the drive for the mail. And everyday without fail, I would stand there and look down the drive in awe. The trees on both sides stretching across to clasp branches to create a canopy over the driveway. The different shades of green and brown.It was simply amazing. Something right out of a storybook.
Some of these trees must have been fourty feet high. I have no idea how old. I can only imagine, because the oaks were the same height. I can close my eyes right now and see this scene and it brings a calm and a smile any time I think about it.This was one of the most redeeming qualities of the old farm.
While we walked to the end of the drive through the trees the wind would blow and the smell of the forest came through. After a storm there would be the pungent smell of the damp forest from the east come through.On a hot humid summer day you could almost smell the dust, the fragrances were so different.
The sun would touch us through the branches and leaves as we moved closer to our destination. And like the sparkles on a lake or the stars in the sky it flashed in and out as we walked. A cat on either side of me, one winding itself through my legs doing it’s best to trip me, then look up at me as if I had done something wrong when I stopped to keep from trampling it.Typical cat fashion. This was our daily game. Then it would do the cat hop and run ahead to torment the dog for awhile.
The driveway forest stretching up on either side was , well ,it was comforting. The sound of the leaves rustling and the branches rubbing together , the wind whistling through them. The crunch of the gravel under my feet as I walked. That’s what I heard.
What I felt, after a few months there was my peace return. My well being and ,my balance. My awareness was again on track. My sense of self.
I’m sitting here writing, well rewriting actually, and I close my eyes and can see it all and go there now in my mind. An instant feeling of well being. Aware of the interaction of everything that happened. The animals, the plants, the earth everything coming together as one. The giant Maples and Oaks doing their part as well. And on the days it rained they were our umbrella.
That is how I got my awareness back. My balance. The same way you can either get yours back or start to find it.
Take a walk. You walk right? While you are on your walk pay attention to your surroundings. The trees along the side of the road in an area. The houses, their colour and structure. As much as you can take in. What you see, hear, smell, sense. Use it all.
Are there plants around that house? Trees? How many cars are in the driveway. Someone cooking?Do your best to take in your total surroundings and put them in your memory bank. Colours, sounds, people, shapes. Go small at first, or at least push it to your limit. Fill yourself with the experience.
At some point you’ll get to where you are turning around and coming back. The halfway point. It’s inevitable. Like we got to our mailbox, you’ll get to yours.
When you get to the halfway point close your eyes and see in your minds eye what you have just experienced. Take out your mind paintbrush and start to paint a mental picture as you have just seen it.
Take a few minutes, turn around and become aware of the return journey and see how you did. Let’s face it for most of us there will be a big discrepancy. The good part is the more you do this the more entrained your brain/mind will become and your awareness of what surrounds you will grow. Building new brain cells all the while.
This is something you can do every day. As a matter of fact once you start on this little exercise, make it a game if you have to, it just keeps getting better. Clearer. Whatever it takes so that everyday you do this at least once for a period of fifteen to twenty minutes. Along with building brain cells, you can get some exercise, so it truly is a win win thing. There is no loss here.
Do this for 21 days and you will develop a new habit Awareness. From here we’ll expand it to the next level.
What is the purpose of all this and the whole awareness thing? Well it wakes you up people. Get out of the robot mode that most of us get stuck and and be alive for a change. To be able to totally experience all there is to offer here on this little blue marble.