My reflections have uncovered a simple truth: To experience and feel appreciation, to show appreciation, to appreciate, requires the simple prerequisite of Mindfulness. And further, Appreciation is Power. Why don’t we experience the Powerfulness of Appreciation more often in our lives? Before we value anything, the fact that we value anything at all, is because we have first seen it and registered its value. Take our appreciation of a great work of art, for example, a beautiful piece of jewellery or furniture, or a Ming Dynasty vase. And yet we also know the experience of walking through a magnificent museum, past artefacts and exhibitions of great beauty and history, and yet, perhaps in a glaze and a daze, maybe with two or three toddlers in tow. We haven’t seen a thing.
The forest has a wild abundance of life and possibility. It holds all emotions: peace and joy and fear. The unknown and the unknowable are here. There is an intersection of the visible and invisible. I see the trees and know that I am only encountering a small part of the Being that is the tree. When you look at the forest, the forest looks back at you. The woods teem with animals, yet they are elusive and hidden. I know that bears, cougars, and wolves all live in this realm. Although we do not encounter them face to face, we can sense them on the periphery of our vision, dancing in the shadows. The soul is like that, shy and elusive, camouflaged by our roles and responsibilities. The forest beckons hidden aspects of our Being to come forward, offering us a glimpse of an unrealized truth, opening our hearts to a new understanding of ourselves.
The reality of life is that there are so many things to do, choices to make, problems to solve. Add to that the endless shiny objects that entertain and pull at my attention. It’s easy to forget about the refuge, the calm and the simple delights of the present moment. It comes down to how much control I decide to exert over where I put my attention.