“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
Can you imagine such a treasure to choose from?
I chose art, something I had always wanted to study but never really had the time to pursue. I eventually took a number of courses, but the first stood out because in it, I learned the lesson that I would carry for the rest of my life.
I drew my first drawing, and my instructor said to me that I couldn’t “see,” that I wasn’t really seeing what I was looking at.
He was right. It was schlock.
My brain had to be trained to bring my sense of seeing into much clearer focus.
I looked and tried again, and still it was schlock. Again and again I tried, and I painted what I thought I saw. But I couldn’t get it right.
Close to giving up, I went to an art exhibit at the Yale Art Gallery of the work of Bada Shanren, a monk several hundred years dead, and an absolute master of seeing with such simple, simple lines.
I sat for a couple of hours, and I started to learn to see.
As I began to really see, I could begin to draw as I looked and looked and looked, and then made a stroke, then looked and looked, and made another.
All of my brain was learning to see in ways for which I had never used the sense of seeing before.
So it is with listening, so it is with feeling, so it is with every sense.
The brain will always sharpen when we bring the faculty of pronounced attention to anything.
So I have decided to bring my attention to what is good, what is positive, what works, and it has revolutionized my thinking, seeing, hearing, knowing, and being.
I even started to pay attention to what I was feeling. And much of the time I didn’t like it very much. So I changed. I just made a conscious decision to change what I was feeling. I had no good excuse to feel tepid, melancholy, and half alive. I had every reason for joy, love, peace, hope, and gratitude.
All the reasons to feel these feelings were around me and within me. All I had to do was attend to them, pay attention to what was really important, SEE what was really significant, and my emotions could paint the canvas of a happier, more grateful life.