Noticing is when a specific impression (for example, a sensation, thought, or feeling) rises to awareness in the context of the moment. Your physical incarnation, state of mind, experience, practices, beliefs, and other individual and environmental factors simply “meet” the stimulus.
At some indefinable level it occurs to you that this specific bit of life’s flow exists for you to observe in a sea of indistinct others. This is true whenever and wherever you allow your awareness to arise, even for mere milliseconds.
When I understood that my awareness in the moment is “living,” I transformed to experiencing life now rather than waiting for something bigger, better, or different to come along, and moved my attention from “what’s wrong with this” to “this is…”
Every bit of noticing has something for us. Why is this so? Charlotte Joko Beck* beautifully answered this question:
“Because every moment in life is absolute in itself. That’s all there is. There is nothing other than this present moment; there is no past, there is no future; there is nothing but this. So, when we don’t pay attention to each little this, we miss the whole thing. And the contents of this can be anything. This can be straightening our sitting mats, chopping an onion, visiting someone we don’t want to visit. It doesn’t matter what the contents of the moment are; each moment is absolute. That’s all there is, and all there ever will be. If we could totally pay attention, we would never be upset. If we’re upset, it’s axiomatic that we’re not paying attention. If we miss not just one moment, but one moment after another, we’re in trouble… Our problems arise when we subordinate this moment to something else, our self-centered thoughts: not just this moment, but what I want. We bring to the moment our personal priorities, all day long. And so, our troubles arise. When attention to the present moment falters and we drift into some version of “I have to have it my way,” a gap is created in our awareness of reality as it is, right now. Into that gap pours all the mischief of our life. We create gap after gap after gap after gap, all day long. The point is to close those gaps, to reduce the amount of time that we spend being absent…”
Please join me on a journey of noticing.
* Charlotte Joko Beck (1917–2011) was the founding teacher of the Zen Center of San Diego and the Ordinary Mind Zen School. Author of the books Everyday Zen: Love and Work and Nothing Special: Living Zen, Joko Beck was known for synthesizing traditional Zen Buddhist teachings with Western psychology.