On Monday I was on my way to meet a friend for socially-distanced coffee outside. Driving through the back streets, just for the scenery, under the large green trees’ curving canopy I had a sudden shift in vision. Momentarily before me the street was filled with drifts of snow. Then the vision cleared in a nanosecond.
Today I had a plan to go to St Paul to the Como conservatory to take photos. Something felt off this morning. Changed my plan and ran an errand to prep for winter. (?) All the cleaning, sorting, recycling has motivated me to be prepared for what is coming. A week ago, when the temps lowered, I could smell autumn in the air outside.
Errands done in good time, I headed toward the Koi Pond. It was past the hours I like to take pictures. The sun shined brightly as I drove and I was thinking of other things, when I saw that I had missed a stoplight and was going through the intersection while a car came from my right, I saw too late what I had done, gunned the engine, swerved to the left and heard brakes working. No crash. “Pay attention!”
I slowed down with adrenaline pumping through my veins. Looking back at the SUV, I was too far away to see their expression, but my feeling was it was best to move on. My distracted driving… almost caused a serious accident. Ashamedly my focus was sharpened back to DRIVING. “Pay Attention!”
When I arrived five minutes later by the Koi Pond, I was shaken. My focus was just about putting a mask on, getting my camera, one thing at a time, locking the car and calming my mind. Feeling discombobulated my efforts to name a sequence of things that I needed to do before I left my car helped to anchor me in the present. “Pay Attention!”
“I’m here for the fish” I said smiling behind my mask. A friendly, masked person tried to give me a cart. The carts were blocking the access to the Koi Pond. I stepped gingerly in between two carts and squatted by the water. Instantly the fish scrambled through murky water toward me. They sensed my presence and probably an opportunity for food. It made me smile. The scuttled back and forth mouths gaping above the water in greeting. Their sleek, multi-colored bodies flowed before me soothing my nerves. They were in the moment. “Pay Attention.”
The brain is a marvel to me in that it takes in scads of information through the senses and keeps it organized so that I can drive a car and not have a crash or walk in the park and not get lost. Countless bits of information coming in constantly during the day and night, how does it not get scrambled? I ask. “Pay Attention!”
Keeping my consciousness focused is the practice in meditation. But the mind is “like a wild horse.” Mind is the sixth sense in the practice of meditation. My mind wanders when I sit meditation. There are techniques of counting from one to ten with each breath repeatedly that helps my distracted mind focus. “Pay Attention!”
Many people are writing and talking about mindfulness often. Mindfulness practice works well with school children in the classroom, for example. They pay attention.
“Mindfulness keeps us in the present moment and allows our mind consciousness to relax and let go of the energy of worrying about the past or predicting the future.” ~
~ Thich Nhat Hanh~ “From the Four Layers of Consciousness” Click the link for the article about the Four Layers of Consciousness.
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen.
Have a mindful day wherever you may be.