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awareness 4 - awareness 5

Let us not look back in anger
or forward in fear, but around
in awareness.

James Thurber


Shut your eyes and you will know what I mean by thought entombed in darkness.  Light comes through the senses, and not only through the sense of sight.  When you see without feeling, you are still partly blind; you lack the inner light that brings awareness.  Awareness requires the interplay of every faculty, the use of your entire being as an eye.

Charles A. Lindbergh


When your life is filled with the desire to see holiness in everyday life, something magical happens:  ordinary life becomes extraordinary, and the very process of life begins to nourish your soul!

Harold Kushner


You know of the disease in Central Africa called sleeping sickness. . . .  There also exists a sleeping sickness of the soul.  Its most dangerous aspect is that one is unaware of its coming.  That is why you have to be careful.  As soon as you notice the slightest sign of indifference, the moment you become aware of the loss of a certain seriousness, of longing, of enthusiasm and zest, take it as a warning.  You should realize your soul suffers if you live superficially.

Albert Schweitzer


There is a rhythm in life, a certain beauty which operates by a variation of lights and shadows, happiness alternating with sorrow, content with discontent, distilling in this process of contrast a sense of satisfaction, of richness that can be captured and pinned down only by those who possess the gift of awareness.

Louis Bromfield


Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating;
there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different types of good weather.

John Ruskin


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The unthankful heart . . . discovers no mercies; but let the thankful
heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron,
so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessing.

Henry Ward Beecher

If I were to prescribe one process in the training of people which is fundamental
to success in any direction, it would be thorough ongoing training in the habit
of accurate observation.  It is a habit which every one of us should be
seeking evermore to perfect.

Eugene G. Grace

The next message you need is always right where you are.

Ram Dass


Who said it first?  We don't know, but very often
we find the same ideas attributed to two different
people.  All we can do is give you both. . . .

The universe is full of magical things
patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.

Eden Phillpotts

The world is full of magic things, patiently
waiting for our senses to grow sharper.

John Keats



Giving our full attention to another person is itself stimulating.  However dull
they might appear to be, the person you're with right now is a human being
with a full set of human qualities that you can respond to.  If you don't see
those qualities in them at first, ask yourself:  Am I looking deeply enough,
attending closely enough?  When people feel that they have your full attention
sometimes they blossom before your eyes.  Even if the communication
only lasts three minutes, it can make a big difference to both of your days.

Kulananda and Dominic Houlder



The present moment is significant, not as the bridge between past
and future, but by reason of its contents, which can fill our
emptiness and become ours, if we are capable of receiving them.

Dag Hammarskjold


Great opportunities come to all, but many do not know they have met them.
The only preparation to take advantage of them is . . . 
to watch what each day brings.

Albert E. Dunning


If we face our unpleasant feelings with care, affection, and nonviolence,
we can transform them into a kind of energy that is healthy and has
the capacity to nourish us.  By the work of mindful observation,
our unpleasant feelings can illuminate so much for us, offering us
insight and understanding into ourselves and society.

Thich Nhat Hanh


The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils,
light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at
your hand, the path of God just before you.  Then do not
grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work
as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread
are the sweetest things of life.

Robert Louis Stevenson

awareness - awareness 3
awareness 4 - awareness 5


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I know full well that one of the greatest gifts that I've been given is that of awareness.  I see things, I hear things, I feel things that I've recognized that other people just don't notice for some reason.  I truly appreciate this gift, for it gives me so much in life that's already there, just waiting to be seen.  I can stand still for an hour in a field in the mountains, just seeing things and feeling the air and hearing the sounds. I love to sit in one place in the city, just watching people go by, wondering what they're thinking, wondering what that look on her face means, how their lives are going, why he seems so agitated.

Of course, there's a prerequisite to awareness--we have to slow down. We have to realize that life is going to go on whether or not we rush around in order to get everything possible done today, and that our own mental, emotional, and physical well being is at stake.  We have a beautiful world that surrounds us, that offers us unlimited opportunities for peace, serenity, learning, helping, getting, feeling, hoping, love--you name it, it's there in abundant quantities, more than any one of us will never need.  But we have to see it, to acknowledge it's there, to let it become a part of us by making ourselves a part of it.

Rainer Maria Rilke claimed that there are angels and spirits all around us, but over the course of the history of humankind we've pulled away from the things that we used to be able to see clearly; we've lost our connection with this planet upon which we live and everything here.  I believe he has a good point--we're so wrapped up in our jobs and television and movies that we almost never consider what's here that we can't see.  And as much as I dislike what the people involved in television have done to our culture (it's not the television's fault), I appreciate the show the X-Files, for that's one of the few shows that actually has approached the possibility of there being more than we can see on this planet with intelligence and respect.

Awareness is seeing all around you with different eyes-- appreciative eyes, wondering eyes.  It's knowing what you want out of life (and yes, you have to ask yourself in order to find out) so that you can go after it. It's knowing that things change, and that what you want today may not be what you want tomorrow.  It's looking into the eyes of a friend or another person and realizing that that's another human being put on this planet with hopes and fears and dreams and desires and needs.

As Rilke says, "Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.  Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us."  Awareness is the ability to see that the way we see things isn't necessarily the way things are--for every setback or terrible incident, there may be hundreds of ways to see it.  We have to choose to be able to see many possibilities, many explanations.  If we get caught up in being right all the time, we'll never have the blessing of being aware.

tom walsh

To become different from what we are,
we must have some awareness of what we are.

Bruce Lee


Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? 
It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world.

Lucy Maud Montgomery


Even sitting still on a lawn can open up to you a whole
new world, if you look long enough and closely enough.
There is a great deal of life available to you in such a place,
but we usually miss it as we walk quickly over it.  Once I taught
in a building that had a tree growing right next to it, so from
our third-floor window we had a great view of the top of the
tree and all the bugs and birds that lived there or were stopping
by for visits.  That close view taught me a lot about the tops
of trees, and I can't look at trees in exactly the same way any more.

Stop today and look.  Learn.  Appreciate.  See.  Touch. 
Feel.  Looking closely is nothing more than using our
powers of observation, a gift that we were given that
we let lie unused far too often.  If we do these things, the
world becomes an awesome, incredible place.

tom walsh


Articles and book excerpts on Awareness:

Accepting Yourself Unconditionally      Brian Tracy
Living in the Moment      Susan L. Taylor

Mindfulness of This Moment      Jon Kabat-Zinn

The River of Feelings      Thich Nhat Hanh

from Walden       Henry David Thoreau

The Fourth Tuesday:  We Talk about Death      Mitch Albom

You May Not Know What Really Matters      Elaine St. James

Call "Time Out" and Adjust Your Course      Jeff Keller

Have You Stopped to Listen Today?      tom walsh

How to Develop a Healthy Perspective      Jeff Keller

I'd Pick More Daisies      Don Herold

I Just Don't See It      Gail Pursell Elliott

Integrity      Paul Bauer

It's Your Life to Live      tom walsh

I Was Wondering      Beth Burns

Re-Energize Your Journal Writing      Michael Boyter

The Keeper of the Spring

A Lesson in Kindness      Author Unknown

Listen Closely. . . .      tom walsh

My Favorite Four-Letter Words      Norman Vincent Peale

Nourishing Awareness in Each Moment      Thich Nhat Hanh

Practical Time Management Tips      Tony Murtaugh

Walking a New Road      Jim Rohn

Watching the News      tom walsh
What Is Your Life Telling You?    Helaine Iris
The Art of Living with Ourselves      Wilferd A. Peterson


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Recently a neighbor of ours took his two small children to the mountains for
a vacation.  The very first morning the children woke him at daybreak,
clamoring to go exploring.  Stifling an impulse to send them back to bed, he
struggled into his clothes and took them for a walk.  At the edge of a pond
they stopped to rest, and while they were sitting there quietly, a doe and
her fawn came down to drink.
   "I watched my youngsters' faces," he said, "and suddenly it was as if I
were seeing and feeling everything for the first time:  the hush of the woods,
the mist over the water, the grace and gentleness of those lovely creatures,
the kinship of all living things.  It only lasted a few seconds, but the thought
came to me that happiness isn't something you have to strive and struggle for.
It's simply an awareness of the beauty and harmony of existence.  And I said
to myself:  remember this moment, put it away carefully in your mind--because
you may need to draw strength and comfort from it someday."  Giving his
children a new experience, that man also opened a door for himself.

Arthur Gordon
A Touch of Wonder

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awareness 4 - awareness 5


One never knows what each day is going to bring.
The important thing is to be open and ready for it.

Henry Moore


To understand music, you must listen to it.  But so long as you are
thinking, “I am listening to this music,” you are not listening.  To
understand joy or fear, you must be wholly and undividedly aware
of it.  So long as you are calling it names and saying, “I am happy,”
or “I am afraid,” you are not being aware of it.  Fear, pain, sorrow,
and boredom must remain problems if we do not understand them,
but understanding requires a single and undivided mind.  This, surely,
is the meaning of that strange saying, “If thine eye be single, thy
whole body shall be full of light.”

Alan Watts
The Wisdom of Insecurity

Look everywhere with your eyes; but with your soul
never look at many things, but at one.

V.V.  Rozanov

To have an open self is to provide a free channel for the infinite
goodness of God.  To have an open self is to keep yourself aware,
alert and sensitive to the beauty and wonder of life.  God’s love will
flow through you into the world when you are open.  You enlarge
the dimensions of your life when you keep yourself open to the
highest and best.  The key to God’s infinite riches is within you;
open yourself and you will receive.

Wilferd A. Peterson


We exercise the power of awareness and strengthen our spiritual muscle by bringing ourselves, over and over again, into the immediate present. To do so, we must become present with what we are feeling and thinking.  We can turn our attention directly toward what we are experiencing instead of staying enmeshed in a feeling or blindly accepting our beliefs about ourselves.

It makes all the difference in the world whether we are caught in a negative emotion and say, “I am sad, angry, lonely,” and so on, or are able to recognize, at that moment, “Here am I, all wound up in sensations of resentment.  Here am I, fuming with anger.”  Awareness of our sensations is not the same as identifying with our thoughts or feelings.  Every movement back to present-moment awareness grounds us in the body and opens the connection to our larger awareness.

Even the smallest movement toward exercising the power of awareness, instead of collapsing our larger awareness into our thoughts and feelings and thereby becoming identified with them, restores us to a more complete consciousness.  It gives us the power to start from a fresh, open, less conditioned relationship to our experience.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that our problems disappear.  But as we exercise the power of awareness, our reflexive reactivity diminishes.  We respond from a state of greater presence.  When we collapse into our feelings, we lose this capacity.  We default into me, and this limited self seems like the whole of who we are. Then we have no choice but to react because we feel as if we must defend ourselves.

Richard Moss
The Mandala of Being

You don’t need to push the water to enter the bean.  You let
the bean be in the water, and slowly, slowly the water is absorbed.
Overnight the bean gets soaked, swollen, and tender.  You are like
these mung beans and awareness is the water.  The practice is to
bring your mind gently back to the present moment with your body
and unify body and mind.  The tension will slowly dissipate, your
awareness will grow, and you can see things in a clearer way.

Thich Nhat Hanh


When Walker first steps onto the road, he has no thoughts, no history, no memories, and no clothes. As he travels and meets people and learns from them, he comes to know more about life, living, and becoming the person he's meant to be. Walker is a parable for all of us who wonder what might be the purpose of life, why bad things happen with almost as much regularity as good things, and how we can learn from the bad examples and experiences in our lives as much as we can learn from the good things. Tom Walsh's parable is a story of the ages, a timeless exploration of ideas and thoughts that all of us wonder about, a sincere and heartfelt portrait of a man who has no past and no future, but who learns to make the most of each precious present moment as it comes.