Discover more from The Rewilded Soul
Tasting with Your Eyes
or Why I Stopped Meditating (and what I do instead)
🎧 Prefer ear candy to the written word? This article is available in audio. Just press play.
I stopped meditating in the morning.
These days, I wander in the forest near my house before breakfast.
I rarely wear earbuds anymore and listen to podcasts, audiobooks, or music. I used to, mostly out of a habit (usually rooted in guilt) to squeeze as much productivity from each moment as possible. Now, they are a distraction so I leave them at home.
My wandering has become a moving contemplation, a lesson in simply being and learning to taste with the eyes, hear with my whole self, and see with the ears.
I can’t explain what that means exactly because I don’t think it can be explained. But it can be experienced.
Some spiritual traditions call what I’m describing walking a Middle Way.
The Middle Way isn’t a doing—a practice or method to master, or even an understanding any more than falling in love is.
It is a way of being, which is neither meditation (trying to go beyond thinking) nor concentration (focused thinking), but a relaxed, opening wide of the shutter of awareness in a playful, curious way to What Is.
It is effortless, receptive presence.
If I had to label it as anything at all, I would call it contemplation.
Imagine a newborn child, wide-eyed as it looks around a room, and you’ll begin to touch what I mean. Is an infant doing anything or trying to understand their surroundings? Or is it simply in exchange with unfiltered reality?
In this way, the Middle Way is childlike wonder. That’s all you need: a willingness to be like a child. Curious. Open. Playful.
There is no one way to play or wander, of course. There never is, and anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell you something. As I experiment with this, I’m finding different paths of play and experience every single day.
As I walked this morning, I tried something new. I softly repeated a sentence from a favorite book, Know Yourself: An Explanation of the Oneness of Being:
Above all, the movement of existence is the movement of love for the sake of the revelation of beauty.
I didn’t attempt to grasp onto the words. I held them lightly, let them move through me like smooth stones being skipped across a pond.
I only paid attention to the feeling within them as I walked the trail, whispering to myself (like any proper madman would).
I felt for the energy of the reality to which they point and noticed what sensations they provoked in my body. I relaxed my field of vision. I looked for that Reality all around me.
As I took notice of the trees, the trail beneath, and the sound of the nearby river, I began to directly experience how Rupert Spira so wonderfully describes beauty:
Beauty is the recognition of our shared being with creation.
Somewhere between the old bent Juniper tree in the clearing and the river, something came alive in me. I smiled and laughed a little.
The movement of existence is the movement of love for the sake of the revelation of beauty, which is our shared being with everything.
So simple. So easy.
So . . . obvious.
The recognition wasn’t intellectual. It also wasn’t emotional. It was a knowing that vibrated quietly, softly in the marrow of my bones. I knew it like I know I’m alive.
I experienced myself not as someone walking through or among Nature, but I knew myself as of Nature, not separate from it.
And it was the most ordinary, beautiful recognition ever. I cannot even say it was spiritual or mystical in the way most people define such things.
Right then I was simply in cooperation with Reality, in step with the moment. I had discovered nothing. But what a wonderful nothing to not discover.
I suppose that’s the open-ended invitation from Life: to come and see for yourself. To not take anyone’s word for it and, like Jiddu Krishnamurti said, to not settle for being a secondhand person.
Be the kind of person who tastes with their eyes and sees with their ears. Pay attention. Get curious. Look around you, but go beyond looking and really see.
Whether you’re in a forest, stuck in traffic, or pumping gas, it is the very same movement of existence throbbing in, through, and all around us in its miraculous ordinariness.
The Rewilded Soul is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.