Mindfulness of the Senses: A Walk Around My Home

I decided to take a little walk around with a focus on mindfulness of the senses. Instead of trying to reach out and create a mental conversation with the world around me, I withdrew slightly and moved into the role of observer.

After a few false starts I was finally able to quiet my brain and noticed that the landscape came into sharp focus. A burgeoning abundance of blossom and birds was one of the first things I noticed. Dark, prickly gorse in bloom with yellow buds folding into themselves, reminded me of childhood snapdragons and their open and closing mouths. I noticed foxgloves floating in a waving sea of grass, buttercups seeking the sun, flowing strands of wool snagged and waving like a flag on a blackberry mast, fuchsia ringing pink and purple bells in the warm wind, ferns and moss gathered in the recesses of the old stone walls and a bright moon in a blue summer sky.

Some hooded crows were arguing with the magpies, bickering and complaining and occasionally calling each other names. As I passed by, the rivals became allies and they began to taunt me, telling me to leave, talking to each other wondering how long it would take before I pass by. I stood and listened and realized there was something they were waiting for and were quite angry that I had interrupted their discussion. Sure enough, a few feet down the road I noticed someone had spilled a basket of fruit and it was apparent that both sides were trying to work out their fair share.

A small bird sang a self absorbed song, sometimes calling, sometimes entertaining himself. He would occasionally change his melody mid-tune, just for a moment, as if experimenting, composing something just a little bit fancier each time. He sat in the hawthorn amongst the blossoms. I wondered why the locals call the hawthorn “bread and butter” and vowed to taste it next time I passed by.

Nearing the cliffs I remembered there was supposed to be a faery rath nearby and wondered where it could be. Two ravens appeared over the ridge and swooped down, barrel rolling, and chasing each other. They disappeared for just a moment, their black bodies obscured by the mouth of a darkened cave, until they curved again skyward into the sunshine. Do I dare enter the cave on my next journey? (Perhaps…)

I spotted mushrooms growing on a shady side of a wall and considered them. Were they benign? Could they be poisonous? A closer inspection almost found me stepping into a patch of nettles; I pulled back suddenly and caught my wrist on a tiny branch of blackthorn, giving myself a scratch. I was surprised that my observance didn’t turn into judgment of good versus bad, pretty versus ugly, or, “This plant is nice, that plant is not”.

Normally I think it is human nature to compartmentalize things according to our likes and dislikes, or what we consider good for us and bad for us. Because I set out on this meditative journey asking for mindfulness I didn’t feel the need to judge what I was observing, but understood that it was no longer fair to pigeon hole anybody or anything according to my preferences. I realized today that nature just “is”, neither good nor bad, just a “be-ing” that lives in the moment.

As an extension of nature and the world around us, I decided I would start trying to appreciate things more on a moment to moment basis. I am notorious for making lists, planning projects and penciling items into my calendar. Today’s walking meditation close to home taught me the lessons of observance, living in the moment, being non-judgmental and honouring the simple moments and heartbeats that make up our days.

(I need to make a note of this and carve it in the palm of my hand)


About Susanne Iles

Contemporary symbolist artist, writer,curator,and geek/nerd girl . Interested in photography, mythology, alchemy,ancient history,science,gaming and magic.
This entry was posted in Beal Na Lappa, Beara Peninsula, County Cork, Ireland and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Mindfulness of the Senses: A Walk Around My Home

  1. Heron says:

    Thanks for these images of a beautiful Summer.Your comment about living mindfully in the present as opposed to making lists and other activities (my version of this is always to be constructing a possible poem rather than internalising the experience for later as I should do). But knowing what we should (or shouldn't)do as opposed to the busy urge to do something is what is so hard to resist in our too busy world, even if we live far away from its busy centres. So your reminder is mindfully welcome.

  2. Mountaindreamers says:

    I wandered upon your blog and mindfullness post, very nice, we are so trained to make a judgement on every aspect of life, life for me today is a journey of un-doing that early training, the last picture of the valley and mountain is mesmerizing. Laura

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