For some fifty years I lived in an attic flat in London, way above the tree tops. It had a roof-balcony and in the summer I would often sleep out there, gazing at the great scattering of stars, the movement of clouds and the changing patterns of the moon. Then, very early in the morning, I would wake to the sight and sound of a flock of birds winging their way across the vast expanse of the sky.
How few of us these days look at the night sky or watch the sun rise! In cities especially, people seem so busy with their mobiles and iPads that they fail to notice the gardens, trees and blossom as they pass. And while we may occasionally take long walks, how often do we sit on a bench for fifteen minutes or so, just being very still and aware of life around us – of the trees putting down their roots into the earth and reaching with their branches up towards the light. Sitting still, birds may come close, or a stray dog suddenly present itself, reminding us that we need to relate to animals. We are surrounded by such riches and yet we are so rarely aware of them. If only we could make more time to ‘see’, and to practise Open Eyed Meditation.