Our senses bring us into the present moment. By noticing—really noticing—what’s around us, we’re able to truly experience where we are in space and time. In this second edition of our mini-series, we’ll be exploring the sense of sight and sharing five prompts for helping you connect with it. If you missed our last edition, read and discover ways to connect with your sense of touch.
Consider the difference between looking and seeing. We’re often observing what goes on in our day, but really paying attention to your sense of sight is often a different experience altogether. Tuning into our sense of sight can help us notice and appreciate the beauty that already surrounds us.
How can you look and see the passing of time in the world around you? Consider how you can pay attention to the more gradual way that things change—the shifts that are perhaps less obvious. In the fall, notice the changing colours of the leaves on the trees near your home. Notice how your shoe slowly gets worn down the more you walk on it. If you have a plant at home, pay attention to how it slowly moves towards the light and grows new leaves.
It’s hard to look at the night sky and not find yourself with a renewed sense of perspective on your life. With that in mind, when was the last time you gazed at the night sky? Consider even putting a time on your calendar for a date with clear skies, as a reminder to look up at night. Even if you live in a big city, you can often still see some stars poking through the sky. And, when you do, instead of briefly looking, really notice them—which stars do you recognize? Which are close together, which flicker the most, which are brightest?
Notice how the quality of the light shifts throughout the day. While we’re often used to watching and admiring the sunrise or sunset, also consider the more subtle shifts of light that happen. No matter if it’s a day of sun, clouds, or rain, by paying attention, you’ll find that the quality of the light changes as the day passes. Perhaps you notice a slight golden tone that continues into late morning, the brightness of the light sparkling on water midday, or the soft afternoon light on a cloudy day.
Whether you live in the city surrounded by people or in the countryside with fewer, it’s often easy to get caught up in our own lives and lose sight of the community around us. As you go through your day, tap into your sense of sight and really notice those around you—the efforts they make, the small habits they have, and how you can appreciate the world through appreciating them.
As a kid, did you ever look at something as up-close as possible, just for fun? Maybe it was a rock, a leaf, an insect—and you tried to look at it as close as you could and notice as much detail as you could. Reconnect with that feeling of wonder and discovery by choosing an object in nature, and seeing how much detail on it you can observe.