July 22, 2010

Sensitization and Mindful Appreciation

We Only See What Our Minds Allow Us To See

A ‘Double Rainbow’ View On Life

The viral video, “Double Rainbow”, had a notable effect on me. After wiping away the tears of laughter, feeling like I was taken on a passionate emotional roller-coaster, I was left with an unshakable feeling of envy. Despite the arguable catalyst behind this man’s bewilderment, his reaction was completely heartfelt. I found myself craving this level of appreciation and sensitization.

I know very little about the science behind a rainbow, however, I do know that very specific conditions need to exist for one to appear… let alone two. I think most people would agree that rainbows are awe-inspiring, not to mention extraordinarily gorgeous; however, what differs will be the extent to which each of us is able to appreciate that splendor.

Children are extremely sensitive to all of the breathtaking phenomena in life, as they have not yet formed those filters. Awestruck and mesmerized while buzzing with excitement, they take in every unique smell, appreciate the subtleties in color, and notice the most minute detail on the wing of a butterfly or the vein of a rock.

As I observe my two children play in this world rich with natural stimuli, I am temporarily bestowed with their fresh view… A world many adults no longer allow themselves to experience.

We only really see what our minds allow us to see. Vision is limited by the brain’s unfocused and egocentric filter.

The appearance of a rainbow triggers some key associations in the mind – good, bad, indifferent – unique to each person. There is a quick acknowledgement based on that association, then the monkey mind swings off to the next fleeting thought. These seasoned, busy minds are distracted and desensitized to much of the beauty in the world.

Lives cluttered with responsibilities, obligations and perpetually insatiable desires, transforms time into a commodity dominated by quantity, not quality. The more thoughts and actions crammed into the shortest amount of time, the more efficient the person. The more efficient the person, the more time saved and/or more money made to feed and perpetuate new desires and clutter. A cyclical, ego-driven game.

“Not everything that counts can be measured. Not everything that can be measured counts.”

~ Albert Einstein

Is life simply about going through the motions?


How much of the day is spent mindfully living

and how much merely perpetuating a cycle?

The clarity to observe beauty and perceive meaning outside of ourselves can only occur when those qualities are fostered within.

Through the process of quieting the mind and shedding the desensitized, egocentric veil, the world becomes rich with magic, taking on a dreamlike quality of wonder and enchantment. All of these sensationally subtle details harmonize to create a different level of existence…. An existence that only appears when one takes the time to appreciate it, mindfully in the present.

I often ask myself what I will reflect upon while on my deathbed.  Will I bask in the memories of a life saturated in love, compassion, and happiness cultivated within myself and outward?  Will I reflect on the countless times that my mind was so permeated with happiness and beauty that it spilled out in the form of tears?

We are given one attempt at thoroughly experiencing each moment before that opportunity is lost.  Much of the beauty and wonder in life resides within the subtleties of the seemingly mundane… quiet and profound. This splendor modestly awaits a still mind, open awareness and pure view.

Thank you, Paul Vasquez, aka ‘Double Rainbow Guy’, for sharing your touching appreciation and for reminding me of the abundant latent beauty abound.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

~ Anonymous

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