Peripheral Vision…the Art of Mindfulness

A few days ago, I was driving home. It was a peaceful drive along a tree-lined street, and I was feeling especially happy. Up ahead of me, I noticed two water dragons sitting in the middle of the road – one large one, the other a teensy hatchling.

As I approached them, they didn’t run off, which was unusual….so I slowed down even more, to give them the space to move out of my way.

That’s when I noticed something in the middle of the road where they had been standing. It was a dark stain, just subtly darker than the bitumen itself.

 “That’s odd,” I thought. But I already had a sickening hunch of what it was.

Unfortunately, my hunch was correct.

I pulled into a side street and walked back to the spot where the two water dragons had been sitting. They were nowhere to be seen, although I was sure they were watching me closely.

There, at my feet in the middle of the road was a dead water dragon. It had only recently been run over, but so many cars had driven over it, that it was now nothing more than a pancake on the road. I could see parts of its spine, and the bones of its legs, but the rest of it was virtually unrecognisable.  

But what impacted me the most from this scene wasn’t only the dead water dragon….it was that its two friends had been sitting with it, standing watch over its body.

I wondered what called them to do that….

Sudden death can be a shock to any Being, and whilst the Soul is catapulted from the body at that moment of death, it doesn’t always find its way “home” and can linger around with its body, feeling lost.

What I’d never realised till this moment was the family connections of water dragons. I’ll often have up to 15 of them basking in the sun along my driveway as I take the long and slow drive up to my house. But they are always standing alone, never together. So I just didn’t comprehend the depth of connection they experience for each other….until now.  

Seeing these two standing as sentinels for their brother who had passed – that really struck me deeply.

And as sad as it was to see this, I also could feel the power of connection that was at play here.

It stirred within me that sense of how important it is that we have people and animals around who will stand for us in our time of need.

How often do we hear of the man or woman who’s had a heart attack, and their dog has gone to find help for them….or the lone diver who’s being targeted by a shark, and the pod of dolphins arrive like Guardian Angels on the scene, to drive the shark away?

True connection allows us to break the barriers of fear in our own life, and transcend them in order to help another. It shows us that we are part of a great web of life, and we are never alone.

It’s what makes life worth living.

In the case of my friends the water dragons, I wanted to make sure that one death didn’t become three deaths.

I gently peeled his body off the road, and placed it into the shrubs at the side of the road. Its body was so demolished from all the cars that it came apart in bits and pieces. He’d been a big one, that was for sure. But at least his friends could be with him, without risking their own lives.

But there was one other concept this raised for me. It’s the concept of peripheral vision. Whenever I’m walking on the beach, or driving, or….well, really doing anything, I am always as present as I can be. My eyes may be on the path I’m taking, but my peripheral vision is on the world around me.

I hear the seagull crying overhead. I see the antics of the birds and other animals around me. I watch the unusual patterns in the clouds, and the quality of light as it kisses the earth. I notice the bee caught in the sand, after a wave caught it unawares, and I carry it to dry land.

One day I saw a little spider who had “given up” its fight, because its legs were tangled with cobwebs. I could tell it had been struggling for hours, and had resigned itself to death. So I used tweezers and my fingers, and it allowed me to gently pull all the cobwebs off it, one by one, and then release it into the garden. (And I used to be utterly phobic about spiders – wow, how far I’ve come in my journey!)

I rely heavily on my peripheral vision, because this is what shows me the full picture, rather than the myopic picture of my own singular focus that moment of that day.

As human beings living a human life, we have our day to day priorities. We head to the office, go and buy groceries, do our daily walk, make dinner, water the veggie patch, answer our emails or social media, catch up with friends….whatever it may be for us. That’s us doing.

But beyond this, is the miraculous workings of the Universe around us. And when we open up to our peripheral vision, we start to see and feel these unfoldings, and we start to receive the life around us, even while we’re going about our daily activities.

We start to see things that others don’t see, we feel things that others don’t notice. We expand our awareness so it goes beyond ourselves, and this is where the magic happens.

When we develop the art of walking towards our life’s tasks at the same time as being present to our peripheral vision, we see the things we’re meant to see.

We see that we are part of the web of life, one strand in this magnificent creature that orchestrates our lives crossing each other.

We see the wonder of our Universe, the unique symphonies at play in it – the chance meetings, the beautiful and heart-warming moments that let us know we’re on track, doing what we’re meant to be doing.

It reminds us that we are indeed part of something much greater and much grander than our own little life.

For every one of us who practices this peripheral vision, the mindfulness in our world increases. Our own Beingness helps waken others around us.

Let us all become more present to the bigger picture around us. Let us all practice Peripheral Power. We share our world with so many other creatures, each one of us as precious and important as the next.

Let’s be mindful of this, and slow down our pace just a little, so we can play our part in the web of life.

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