For the last few weeks, I’ve contemplated the question raised by Marvin Swanson decades ago. What things do hamper our awareness of our immediate surroundings? Things that distract our minds, keep us focused on inner dialogue, perhaps. Though he noted several young friends who were television addicts forty years ago, I suspect Marvin would be amazed to find that today we can take our screen distractions to any place at any time and ignore what’s happening in front of us.
I’ve been thinking of what puts blinders on awareness: feeling down, worry, being an eccentric wheel around an unproductive crush, too much alcohol or drugs.
And what increases awareness? How can one develop greater awareness? It often seems to take a change from the ordinary—a change of feelings, of routine, of environment. How can we make the familiar stand out in freshness and newness? Go outdoors. Enjoy stimulating conversation with a new acquaintance. Read a good book. Listen to music. Sometimes a good TV show or movie works. A change of season helps too.
Awareness is increased by (1) change (2) time to analyze experience. Can we add more to our list?
What have I missed by being self-absorbed? How can I break out of that box?
What works for you?