Of course, we’re always already IN the landscape—so what am I even talking about? That strange yet common condition, wherein one feels distanced from the world in which one is immersed. Virtual experience, stressful schedules, never-ending work days, and protracted rational focus promote this rampant 21st century disease. But the cure is close at hand.
The experience of participating in life simply needs you to bring your attention to being here, in this place, in this moment. Then, simply expand awareness to notice the world all around you, within you, and passing through you.
As an easterner flying over the southwestern states, I often wondered what the attraction of the desert could possibly be. It’s hard to perceive from 40,000 feet in the air, but once I followed my curiosity to enter this (to me) alien landscape, I found its magic palpable.
Recently, I explored the mysterious terrain of Joshua Tree National Park.
First impression: Boring. Dusty. Hot.
Last(ing) impression: Awesome. Surprising. Ever unfolding its secrets.
Every place and every moment opens in its own way, as we open to it.
To appreciate a place, a moment, a life, you need to enter into it. I don’t believe it can be otherwise. Get out of the car, out of the house, out of your head---That is, out of preconceptions and abstract thought, and into sensory experience.
To change those cultural expectations that lead us away from the feeling of participating in the world, we must each claim time and space for our own experience. Doing so will strengthen not only the sense of self, but the sense of connection with the world.