My last blog described the wording used by a doctor in communicating clinical information that was shared with a patient.
I want to look differently at moth-eating.
I don’t remember the last time I pulled a t-shirt of jumper out of dresser to discover a hole, a nibbled gap in the fabric. Moth-eating somehow makes me thing of neglect, of clothes that are left too long unused, folded out of the way in dark places.
Yet, moth-eating, to me, is an important part of our everyday perception of the world around us. What we see and what we don’t. The gaps in experience that our brains creatively fill-in for us.
Our moment-by-moment experience is constructed of focus, attention, listening and drifting-off, our minds wandering, occupied internally by memories, recollections, imaginings, during which time we aren’t really present. Our physical bodies inhabit the same space, yet our experience is elsewhere. And what is happening to our perception at this time – when we are listening to another person, watching TV, reading a book or driving our car? Our minds split from the moment and our attention is divided between that which penetrates our everyday reality and that which our brains make-up.
Our experiences become the fragments left behind and the gaps we fill-in.
Imagine we were able to be completely present in the moment, listening, feeling, touching, creating an experience that is infinitely richer, given that it is all real, all what is out there, with no gaps missing, no creative synthesis of the world from our past experiences, our biases or prejudices?
This I understand is Mindfulness. Practicing, training yourself to increase focus, the moment by moment presence, so that when we are with our children, our loved-ones, when we are watching the sun-set or leaves falling, we are present, we are taking-in the moment – our recollections and experiences then become closer to the reality.
We will never, unless in possession of an eidetic memory be able to absorb all that is around us and it is likely that our brains filter-our much of what is going-on to allow us to focus and pay attention (here I think of the buzzing world of a child who has not yet learned focus, who absorbs the world around them with a clarity that most of us have forgotten).
How often could the present moment cope with being a little richer, our perceptions a little sharper, what we hear and what we understand a little more defined.
We pass through life without noticing, blind to much of the wonder that is out there. How richer could be our experience if we had access to a tiny-bit more, if we were able to shine a light on a slither of experience that would otherwise have been passed-over.
And this is the practice, the daily struggle of maintaining focus, whether on the breath as described by Kabat-Zinn or some other technique, the constant development, refinement of our perceptions.