As I stood in line at the grocery store waiting for the gentleman in front of me to finish his order, I sensed I was mildly irritated. He was taking too long, and I had things I needed to get done. I quickly noticed my mind and body – the tightness in my shoulders and jaw and my thoughts racing. I decided to experiment and expand my awareness as I waited, using my sense of sight to see what was in front of me.
I had placed several fruits and vegetables on the counter, and in particular, beets with their greens still attached. The bright red veins running through the brilliant green leaves stood out the most. The unusual speckling of brown imperfections on the leaves caught my attention next. In the few moments standing there, my body had softened, my mind had settled, and I was at ease. I was astonished at how rapidly I was nourished by this brief experience.
I decided to set out over the next week, to experiment with Eye Hunger, to pause and look deeply at objects, people, all things with awareness and become curious with what was arising. There was a snowfall that covered the many branches of trees in my yard and a brilliant red cardinal flew by and perched on one of them. Just resting and watching, my heart was filled with joy.
There was a bowl of oatmeal with plump red strawberries, shiny blueberries and blackberries sitting on the table. I felt thankful for the food that I was about to eat. I noticed the faucet running with water, this mundane object, as I was preparing to wash my hands. Thinking about all those around the world who don’t have running water, I was so appreciative to have it. In each instance, I was filled with an immense sense of gratitude.
In Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food, Jan Chozen Bays writes, “When we are distracted and not really looking at things, we feel vaguely dissatisfied and disconnected…When we stop and look with awareness, we connect. A brief connection like this can lift our mood, feeding our hearts for hours.”
I began to wonder, how often I take for granted what or who I am looking at, even if I am gazing into the mirror? William Shakespeare wrote, “The eyes are the window to the soul.” The common interpretation is that others may see deeply into us through our eyes. With this exercise, his statement took on a new, deeper meaning for me. My eyes allowed the visual perspective to resonate within me, without judgment or labeling. Through my own sight, I was deeply connected to myself and in turn connected to the greater world around me.
With each encounter of embracing what I was seeing, I felt nourished, my mood lighter and my heart fed with beauty. This perpetual lesson of heart nourishment and connection through the senses is available at any moment with awareness. Beauty and connection abound in everything around us, if we take the time to truly “see” what is there to see.
Do you ever notice the heart being satisfied by the mere gazing upon something?
Have you ever noticed that often times “nourishment” is not about the food?