July 20     

Today's quotation:

Sometimes during the day, I consciously focus on some ordinary object and allow myself a momentary "paying-attention."  This paying- attention gives meaning to my life.  I don't know who it was, but someone said that careful attention paid to anything is a window into the universe.  Pausing to think this way, even for a brief moment, is very important.  It gives quality to my day.

Robert Fulghum

Today's Meditation:

I have to do this myself sometimes, too.  I have to force myself to stop what I'm doing, to stop on the way to where I'm going, to look around and find out where I am, what there is to see, and who's there with me.  It's so incredibly easy to just be in motion, to have things to do so that we don't even notice some of the marvelous things around us, like that amazing tree or those flowers or the beautiful building across the street.

Fulghum calls it a "window into the universe," and I can see what he means.  When I pay close attention to whatever is around me, I get a different feeling of who I am and how I fit into life and this world.  When I pay close attention, I feel the interconnectedness between me and the things that I see; I feel the vastness of creation and the closeness of all that has been created.  If I don't pay close attention, of course, that feeling of connection never comes and my life is just a bit less rich.

The world around us is marvelous, and we can make our lives here a marvelous experience by paying attention to what we have and what surrounds us-- the people, the trees and plants, the animals, the inventions of people, the rain and the snow and the heat and the oxygen that we breathe.  But instead of paying attention to these things, we think about our jobs, the newest family drama, the television shows that we watched last night.  We get caught up in the mundane and forget that we're constant witnesses to the miraculous.

Do you want to give quality to your day?  The good news is that it's already there-- you simply have to make the choice to notice it and pay attention to it.  Leave a few minutes early for work so that you can stop for a few minutes and pay attention to something really cool.  Put your phone away long enough to notice the roses or the daffodils or the autumn leaves.  There's plenty here to keep us occupied our whole lives long, so let's not complain of life not being special if it's simply we who refuse to take the time to notice its specialness.

Questions to consider:

How often do we stop to pay attention to "everyday" objects?

Why is it often so difficult to stop and notice something closely?

Why do we so rarely see just how special so many things are in our lives?

For further thought:

If you can approach the world's complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deeply you have seen, you have only scratched the surface, you will find worlds within worlds, beauties you could not heretofore imagine, and your own mundane preoccupations will shrink to proper size, not all that important in the greater scheme of things.

Daniel C. Dennett

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