As a final exercise we were asked to take some time to observe people as they are; just as we would observe “Nature” in its spontaneity. We were encouraged to observe in an unconditioned way if possible in order to attend to the unknown unfolding of activity. We were asked to pay attention with fresh eyes, open ears, and awakened senses; we were to expect nothing in particular in respect to the original unfolding of Deep Ecological experience.
I didn’t get any sleep last night. I was visiting a close friend out of town and the journey home kept me up through the am hours and beyond the sunrise. Given the unusual quality of attention that comes about after an “all-nighter” I was unusually aware of the present moment. Due to the fatigue from last night’s trip and journey home I decided to venture only to the dining hall on campus to observe the humans. I recognized almost everyone who entered the dining hall and quickly noticed the automatic associations of memory including the persistent dialogue going on in my mind about the observed, the observer, and the process of observation; it was interesting to notice how trained my mind was at filtering my observations through a sociological lens.
As my attention consistently reset itself on the unfolding present moment, I realized that it was necessary to include my own human personality with the group of humans I was observing. The “Naturalness” of the human movements and sounds appeared to be so unconditioned and original. Even my “conditioned” mental reactions were totally comprised of thoughts that had never been thought before. My sincere offering of attention to the ever-changing present moment felt innocent and curious. I began to appreciate the dynamism of activity, energy, and form; I saw humans performing multiple complex functions simultaneously –communicating with words and body while walking, carrying food and avoiding tables, chairs and other moving people. Immersed fully in the movement of thoughts and external sensory input, I chose to experience the “wide-angle” lens of peripheral vision, while at the same time noticing sounds of people, appliances, furniture, and thoughts. This brought in a totally new quality of perception and dimension of observation. From this shift in the way I intended to receive information I noticed that the quality of information changed accordingly. As I opened my senses to receive input in different ways, that which I perceived changed significantly.
Thus, as I continue to reflect and open my mind to insight I find a seemingly endless well of potential, and at the same time there are so many questions I could ask about this experience; there’s so much to explore and it’s so much fun. I’ll let it be.