Summer Meditation #1 – Will You Be a Seer?

A seer? What exactly does that mean? Here is a passage from Thoreau’s Walden that gives me a hint.

“What is a course of history or philosophy, or poetry, no matter how well-selected, or the best society, or the most admirable routine of life, compared with the discipline of looking always at what is to be seen? Will you be a reader, a student merely, or a seer? Read your fate, see what is before you, and walk on into futurity.” – Henry David Thoreau in Walden, “Sounds”

 I’m not always a ‘seer.’ I fly through life, busy, hardly seeing the neighborhoods I drive through, the people I interact with, the world around me.  But is it possible in today’s rush- rush-hurry-hurry-do-everything-faster- and-multi-task-while-you-are-doing-it society?  What time is there to think, let alone to SEE?

And I even TRY to be a seer. I get there for a few hours, and then I slip out of it again. For me, it is a struggle.

This has been a challenge throughout my life. For many years, I just let life happen to me. I didn’t direct it. I didn’t plan anything. I was hardly even conscious of what was going on around me. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t sad. I was numb – and harried by life.

Chances are you’ve felt this way at some time, that you’ve fallen into this cycle of passing through life without really seeing anything that was going on around you.

Thoreau talks about being a seer. To me this means being able to live in the moment.  This is what is happening when I am aware of my  surroundings, not just what I am doing, but what is happening in the world immediately around me. I’m listening, I’m feeling, I’m experiencing.

What is the weather? What is the traffic? What are the pedestrians doing? How about the other drivers? 

What are the animals doing outside? What plants are growing, or fading away? What birds are singing? What other creatures are making sounds? How does the wind feel? Is the air heavy, or cool? 

Why is it so hard for me, like many people in modern society, to be PRESENT? Why am I always thinking about something else, rather than what is immediately before me? Do I fail to enjoy my children, my parents, my friends because I are not really ‘with’ them when they are with me? Do I listen to them, or is my mind too busy thinking about what I want to say, or worrying about what someone might think if I say it?

This is part of the madness of being human. It’s probably normal to live this way. But there can be so much more to life if I STOP living that way.

I’ve challenged myself this summer to be PRESENT. Whether I’m with family or friends, sitting out on the patio, watching a movie, taking a hike, eating a meal, I want to be present and aware. Listening. Enjoying. Seeing.
Like Thoreau, I want to be a SEER, and I will try really hard to be one.

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