While in Buenos Aires Pam and I took two days from our holiday to fly to a tiny city called Igauzu to see the famous water falls which more than rival Niagara. In fact on some lists the Igauzu Water Falls are considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
The reviews are true: a length of 1.7 miles of falls dropping 200-300 feet. Spectacular! Since it is located in the Amazon rainforest, the walk itself to the falls can be quite engaging, if… one is paying attention. Shockingly it is so easy to walk and be thinking of a hundred others things about life instead of fully embracing the journey.
I found this true until I remembered my mediation exhortation to pay attention. But in a unique way. Andy Puddicombe, founder of the Headspace Meditation App, suggested mindful walking, a process in which I “observe myself” as an outsider: watching myself walk through the rain forest and gazing at the falls, as well as watching myself listen to the thunderous sounds and getting soaked from the mist as I stood 100 feet from the bottom of one of the falls.
This procedure of observing yourself may sound odd but it actually got me to pay even closer attention to my present than being bombarded in my mind by ideas like to-do’s, ideas for when I return, or what I might do tomorrow in Buenos Aires. Instead I was watching me observing the forest, the falls, and the odd little critters called Coates—little anteater looking animals.
The sounds of the falls felt almost deafening when up close. And I would have missed it had I not observed myself in an that dreamlike state of mind. What a shame. My MO is to observe an outrageous sight in nature as tourist instead of an engaged observer. The result was a failure to take full emotional advantage of the spectacle in which I was a party.
How may times have you found yourself so preoccupied that you missed or almost missed the fullness of an eventful or potentially exciting time? It happens all the time doesn’t it? Our lives are so busy and our minds are so out of control that we end up only partially enjoying what ever it is we are doing.
Enter mindful walking, mindful eating, and pretty much mindful living in that dreamlike state of self-observance. I recently read that mindful eating—slowing down to focus on tasting every bite—actually reduces weight as it increases the joy of food.
Watch yourself, literally, enter that dream state of seeing yourself enjoying your life RIGHT NOW! I may sound a little crazy but Pam even tried it today and found it enjoyable as we traversed the rainforest to see the Iguazu Falls.
Give it a shot. Can’t hurt and it just may make each experience a treasure,
Observe Yourself Doing What You Love
In a Dreamlike State of Mind
Photo courtesy of Charlie Hedges