The Mindfulness Blog

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5,4,3,2,1-- Notice!

Some time ago, I began playing a game during early morning walks with the dog. It started out simply enough, as an exercise in counting: How many cars or trucks did I see? That quickly grew to include other pedestrians, bicycle riders and other people still in their houses, waking up to a new day.

Soon, I began to add airplanes, then I began to notice the sun reflected in the tops of trees, the tug of the leash, the character of the sky, the smells of early morning cooking, the temperature and the stiffness of the breeze-- and finally, it occurred to me that I was noticing. What a revelation, and what a moment!

More importantly, I noticed that I was noticing. Intentionally. Consciously. Not just walking about, on auto-pilot-- as I had been, for my entire life. Even better, the more I noticed who and what I was encountering, the less I thought about pretty much everything that had gone on earlier, or what I might have planned to do later in the day.

My early morning walks had become a series of discrete, unrelated moments that ultimately morphed into one big "moment", in which I was an incidental, bit player. How refreshing! Talk about not having a care in the world-- and it all started with counting, which ultimately led me to notice. Who'd have ever imagined.

For anyone who may still be reading, I'll just say that I am still working all that out-- kind of like the Russian doll thing, where we keep finding another smaller doll, inside a larger doll.

I may never fully work it out, but what the heck: It keeps me out of trouble. If there's a point to all this, it's probably that noticing-- which is so important to mindfulness and meditation-- is not something that is theoretical or esoteric.

It's really real-- and it's something we can do, while walking the dog!


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