World is a content rich place though the tragedy is that we treat it functionally. We use the streets to get to destinations, go to restaurants only to eat food, use the parks to take fitness walks. We measure time by watches, space by distances and people by our need for them. The variety and richness of the world that we are surrounded with often goes unnoticed and unappreciated.
The dynamic of artists and scientists exploring the world and common people living in it, is a sad but false binary. Unless we start to notice the world around us in different hues, living itself is stripped of most of its meaning.
Here then are the 10 techniques to notice the world that surrounds you in its fine detail:
1) Make a commitment to notice things. Every day is a new opportunity and unless you renew your commitment daily, chances are, you will slip back into routine of using things functionally instead of noticing their individuality.
2) Slow down. Slow way down. Walk where you can run, stop where you can walk and be silent where you can talk. Slowing, single tasking or tapering off activity will put you in a noticing frame.
3) Notice a thing by using as many of the 5 senses as you can. Having seen the thing once with one dominating sense ( say eyes), shut that sense off to notice it with some other sense. Eating is not only a hunger feast but can be a sensory feast as well if you smell and taste food properly.
4) Try counting things wherever you, are as a mental exercise. If you count the amount of tiles you’ll notice the broken ones, the amount of men vs women you’ll notice people, the amount of jackets worn – what people are wearing. Counting helps you notice more things.
5) Consciously look for things you might be omitting in a scene. We are habituated to a certain way of noticing and challenging your confirmation bias helps you record things which do not conform to your expectations. Breaking that pattern repeatedly helps to see more of the surrounding world.
6) Play fun noticing games with yourself by posing small challenges. Name three blue things you noticed while driving to office, how many barren trees did you notice, how many houses had red gates, how many girls were wearing black shades, how many dogs did you see on the road, how many smokers did you see…
7) Take breathing breaks after every 30 minutes. Notice your breath ( deep, shallow, hurried..) and count 10 of them every 30 minutes. If you forget, set alarms on your phone.
8) Notice patterns around you of leaf arrangements on trees, musical notes in song, waves in a sea, chairs arranged in a class, flight of birds in a group, flower clusters and so on.
9) Do one new thing a day even if it is very small. Take a new route, eat something you have never eaten before, sit in a posture you haven’t sat before, sleep for one night in different part of your house, walk to a place you drive and drive to a place you walk, say curse you after sneezing, call up someone you haven’t called before, sign up an online petition, jump in a puddle…..
10) Designate time for sitting. Do not have an agenda for a 10 minute sit down. Just close your eyes and be with yourself.
To be an explorer of the outer world you start to notice more objects, people and events. If you are an explorer of the internal world you start to notice closely, thoughts, breath and your energy variations.
Overall with the skill to notice better,you migrate from existing to living or practicing “the art of living” as it is called.