I think one of the problems we have as human beings is our innate tendencies to look and not see – forever searching, rather than seeing and appreciating what we have and all that is before us. The trouble with looking is that we’re imposing our expectations and our needs, rather than being present to whatever is around us and to process things and appreciate them for what they are.
Similarly, we often hear but don’t listen, which again, means we’re not really present. It can be hard to listen, with our minds racing here and there, but the value of listening can’t be underestimated, not just for the person being listened to, but in developing our own skills in being present and empathetic.
I especially practice both of these skills in nature, for when I just encounter what is there – rather than what I would like to be there or hope will be there – I experience such joy and openness and gifts – beyond what I could have hoped or planned for. Sometimes just by baring witness, to whatever it is, what will come to us is not what we wanted or expected, but often it will be so much better and by being present and still, we will be in a much better place to receive it.