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Grandmama Zen: How setting a goal distracted this seeker from the restoration beauty offers.

Updated on November 4, 2013

Upon waking, beauty. Upon rising, beauty. Beauty all around.

Source

Traditional Navajo Prayer

Dark young pine,
at the center of the earth originating,
I have made your sacrifice.

White shell, turquoise, abalone
beautiful, Jet beautiful, fool’s gold beautiful,
blue pollen beautiful, reed pollen beautiful, your sacrifice I have made.

This day your child I have become, I say. Watch over me. Hold your hand before me in protection. Stand guard for me. Speak in defense of me.

As I speak for you, speak for me.
As you speak for me,
so will I speak for you.

May it be beautiful before me,
May it be beautiful behind me,
May it be beautiful below me,
May it be beautiful above me,
May it be beautiful all around me.

I am restored in beauty.
I am restored in beauty.
I am restored in beauty.
I am restored in beauty.

Where our treasure lies

Sunlight transforming a red leaf from dull to neon usually generates a stunning visual that goes unnoticed when folk like me organize our days with a goal-oriented frenzy wrapped in ego.

I are going to die; my days are numbered. Yet somehow I manage to ignore the beauty all around me, prioritizing the task at hand. Even when the task is to raise my vibration by observing beauty today.

Racing from the Internet to the photographer to the fridge to the phone, I text my college kids, frazzled husband and Facebook account while ignoring the cumulus clouds looming overhead.

I exist within a constant rush to complete:

  • bucket lists,
  • shopping lists,
  • To Do lists,
  • wish lists,
  • Santa lists,
  • Plus and Minus lists,
  • check lists,
  • reference lists,
  • event lists,
  • spring cleaning lists,
  • tax form lists,
  • food allergy lists,
  • job search lists,
  • top ten lists,
  • lists laying out car issues,
  • health issues,
  • issues with the bank,
  • issues with the government,
  • issues with a fingernail clipper.

When I drive the car, feed the dog, fulfill functions at Hubpages, or check off items on one of my lists, I operate in The Zone, in voluntary attention mode. When I open to beauty, I shed the voluntary part of that description and engage in involuntary attention.

Psychological experiments show that experiencing beauty particularly in nature, "increases the efficiency of our brains and improves our general psychological mood."

Such evidence may prove nature is restorative, but how is it restorative?

Psych-Mat explains, "Attention Restoration Theory suggests that there are two types of attention; involuntary which is automatic and relatively undemanding of brain energy and voluntary which requires focused attention and is much more demanding of brain energy."

Based on this differential, scientists might encourage us to expand our spacial attentions from the more common goal directed, top down voluntary attention to include the bottom up mechanism they call involuntary spacial attention. Involuntary attention is automatic and independent of the task at hand.

A paper presented by members of the Psychology Department at University of California, Berkeley explains, "voluntary attention is sometimes termed goal-directed attention or endogenous attention. On the other hand, stimulus events can involuntarily capture attention, even when the stimulus event is unrelated to the current goal-directed activity. Involuntary attention is sometimes called stimulus-driven capture or exogenous attention."

My demise was inspired by curiousity

Psychological experiments show that experiencing beauty particularly in nature, "increases the efficiency of our brains and improves our general psychological mood."

Such evidence may prove nature is restorative, but how is it restorative?

Psych-Mat explains, "Attention Restoration Theory suggests that there are two types of attention; involuntary which is automatic and relatively undemanding of brain energy and voluntary which requires focused attention and is much more demanding of brain energy."

Based on this differential, scientists might encourage us to expand our spacial attentions from the more common goal directed, top down voluntary attention to include the bottom up mechanism they call involuntary spacial attention. Involuntary attention is automatic and independent of the task at hand.

A paper presented by members of the Psychology Department at University of California, Berkeley explains, "voluntary attention is sometimes termed goal-directed attention or endogenous attention. On the other hand, stimulus events can involuntarily capture attention, even when the stimulus event is unrelated to the current goal-directed activity. Involuntary attention is sometimes called stimulus-driven capture or exogenous attention."

That was a distraction!

I spent hours attempting to understand the differences between voluntary and involuntary attention, where it originates in the brain, what perception means, etc.

To give my brain a rest, I researched a list of the top ten most beautiful places in our exceptionally beautiful world.

Researching a list of the top ten most beautiful places in our exceptionally beautiful world is a voluntary attention.

Visiting one of these locations and absorbing its beauty by engaging the entire soul is an involuntary activity.

Ten of the most beautiful places in our exceptional world

A
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia:
Plitvice Lakes National Park, 53231, Plitvička Jezera, Croatia

get directions

B
Monument Valley Tribal Park, Arizona/Utah:
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Indn Route 42, Oljato-Monument Valley, AZ 84536, USA

get directions

C
Svalbard Islands, Norway:

get directions

D
Iguazu National Park, Brazil:
Iguazu National Park, São Miguel do Iguaçu - Paraná, Brazil

get directions

E
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador:
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

get directions

F
Serengeti, Tanzania, Africa:
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

get directions

G
Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand:
Moeraki Boulders Road, Moeraki 9482, New Zealand

get directions

H
Reed Flut Cave, China:
The Reed Flute Cave, 1 Ludi Road, Xiufeng, Guilin, Guangxi, China

get directions

I
Lake Baikal, Russia:
Lake Baikal, Russia

get directions

Step outside and look up

Source

I engaged my ego, not beauty!

I find it interesting that absorbing the beauty of a tree trunk silhouetted against a deep blue sky should be considered a bottom up activity. When I engage in that activity, my feet are planted solidly on the ground.

I am not a psychology doctoral student and cannot understand all the implications of their impressive research. However, I am conscious of this: the minute I started asking why and how it was that beauty was restorative, I moved into my head and lost any ability I had to appreciate what was around me.

I even took the dogs for a race around the open space, until half way around the path, I recognized I was in mental despair that I could not put the psychological pieces together and had lost the point of the exercise. I had moved from my intention of involuntary perception right into the voluntary activity of making lists and setting goals!

I find this humorous. My goal was to walk in beauty and I was the furthest distance possible from achieving that goal because rather than pausing to breathe in the beauty around me, I was researching a process.

The imposition of my ego stripped this Hub of Spirit. "From this we discover that all the beauty of Creation is reflected within us like a still and silent lake. Once we locate this pool of beauty we can become the channel for it. We become the Collective Unconscious, without ego to distort the purity of art.". - adishakti

Source

Youth is happy because
it has the capacity
to see beauty.
Anyone who
keeps the ability
to see beauty
never grows old.
– Franz Kafka

What do you think about the material I covered in this hub?

See results

© 2013 Barbara

Do you give your attention to beauty on a daily basis? I would like to invite you to write a poem about one particular moment or share a personal story here.

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    • Storytellersrus profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara 

      5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Thanks Kim. This whole series is a work in vibrational progress.

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      I feel as though I see beauty in others and other entities. I do not know if I do this on a daily basis. Recently, I wrote a poem I believe captures a particular moment of beauty.

      https://hubpages.com/literature/Pedagogical-Prison...

      Great hub! Thanks for sharing your experiment.

      Kim

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