21. Observation as Meditation

6 minutes
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Lesson 21 observation as meditation one of the things I've learned from Native Americans is that meditation doesn't have to be sitting inside with your eyes closed. sitting outside with eyes and ears open and observing the world around us can be a very powerful meditation. It's also an important life skill. Being able to observe the world around us can be life saving. You can sit in one place and watch a bug, or a bird or a squirrel. Watch birds and flight flowers in their array of colors, kittens playing any of these can bring a wealth of joy, insight, peace and calm.

But there's more to be gained than inner peace. This can also be a way to rediscover your curiosity and sense of wonder in the world. We had it as children, but as we age, it becomes less active. How often do we slow down enough to practice such observation? It will definitely achieve the same goal as more formal meditation, stilling the mind and opening up to creativity and inspiration. When the weather allows me to have the windows open, sometimes during my morning meditation, I just listen to the birds singing.

Here are some teachings from bear heart in the wind is my mother about observation. He said, to teach our young people how to get in touch with nature and their own intuition. Our elders used to take them way out into the woods blindfolded and have them sit by a particular tree. You stay here blindfolded until we come after you leave. With this tree, touch it, hug it, leaned against it, stand by it, learn something from it. After a half day or more, they would bring them back to camp, remove the blindfold and say, now go find your tree.

After touching a lot of trees, they could find the ones they had spent time with. Sometimes they didn't have to touch a lot of trees. Those with highly developed intuition could go right to their tree. They seemed to be drawn to it. That's how we began to connect. It's amazing what you feel from a tree.

It can give us energy. When we take long hikes in wooded areas, we often put our fingertips on the ends of the cedar or pine needles. Just standing there touching them, you're going to feel energy come to you. Trees are emitting energy all the time. Every needle of the tree, every leaf is trying to make the atmosphere breathable for us. That's Why my people have great respect for trees.

The trees are our relatives. We call them tall standing brothers. During part of their hearts training, his teacher had to spend an entire day doing nothing but observing. From early morning to evening. He said, I had to sit in the field all day long without moving my body. He told me to just move my eyes very slowly from side to side.

What was I observing? What direction is the wind coming from? Does that clouds seem to contain any large amounts of moisture? Is it dark on the underside and light on top? If so, perhaps it's going to rain. If you see birds flying are they circling or going in a straight line?

Are they water birds flying to where there might be some water. If you're looking for water, perhaps you should head in that direction. There didn't have to be any particular significance to all the things I've observed. The point was not to let anything escape my awareness to master the difference between looking and seeing. When you see any kind of a movement, don't turn your head quickly. Just move your eyes slowly from one side to another.

If you turn your head too quickly, the little animal or bird sitting on a tree limb is going to fly away. If you're motionless, they feel that you are not harmful. They accept you and will come in close. There are many aspects to observation that I wasn't aware of. I discovered that the peripheral part of your viewing space can catch movement more readily than looking straight ahead. You also listen for the sounds of the area.

Did you hear a cow? Did it have a bell? Was it lowing? Did you hear Your horse snort. If you can register in your mind all the sounds come into your area, you can immediately pick up on anything unusual. You can also apply these observation skills in the city, where it may be even more important to stay alert.

As you walk down the street, observe from one corner to the other side of the street. Is it safe? Are there any people or situations which look dangerous to you? Being aware of everything going on around you can save your life. here here's how you can practice observation as a meditation. Pick something pleasing to look at, that's not moving, such as a candle flame, a flower plant or crystal.

Focus on it with your eyes open for a few minutes. Then close your eyes and visualize it. You might find yourself merging into it and it will bring you the story feeling of calm as comes with mindfulness practice. or sit outside and watch a bug, or bird or animal. Watch the trees swaying in the breeze or listen to the sounds of nature. These can all be lovely forms of observation as meditation.

The next two lessons are PDF bonuses, listening to the wind and a review of the day.

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