Exercise 2: Conscious Observation
You’ll feel a sense of heightened “nowness” during this exercise. Conscious observation can really give you a feeling of “being awake”. Notice how your mind quickly releases thoughts of past or future, and how different it feels to be in the moment. Conscious observation is a form of meditation. It’s subtle, but powerful. Try it…by practicing mindfulness in this way you’ll really start to sense what mindfulness is all about.
In the book Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond, Ajahn Brahm describes his own personal experience of conscious observation…
“The mind is like a megawatt searchlight, enabling you to see so much deeper into what you are gazing at. Ordinary concrete becomes a masterpiece. A blade of grass literally shimmers with the most delightful and brilliant shades of fluorescent green. ..the pretty becomes profound and the humdrum becomes heavenly under the sparkling energy of power mindfulness.”
You can also practice conscious observation with your ears rather than your eyes. Many people find that mindful listening is a more powerful mindfulness technique than visual observation.
If you are more of an auditory learner, try conscious observation using your ears. Mindful listening is one of the ways I work to stay in the moment during daily routines and in the great outdoors. I love to stop during a hike and take time to just listen to the mountain sounds.