I love people watching and just generally listening and talking to strangers* (aka friends you haven’t said hello to yet). You could learn a lot about people by the way they talk and most importantly how they listen.
You enter the morning rush via subway/metro/bus/train and you see a whole flock of Zombies, eyes drained and glued to their phones, navigating through people and the busy streets. Avoiding eye contact but conscious enough to avoid bumping straight into somebody. I wonder what they are all thinking about. If their autopilot status allows them time to completely be in tune with their surroundings, to feel the cool wind in the air, and the intensity of the sun.
I also wonder how long the average person really brushes their teeth for. Do they look in the mirror and see themselves or are they envisioning something else? A bucket list of things to do and people to see. Are they quickly brushing their teeth just to get it done or are they carefully taking it stroke by stroke, careful not to miss.
Or when I see suits at a bar after a long days of work chugging beer with their coworkers. Are they savouring the taste of that watered down pitcher of beer or are they just drinking as fast as they could just to get hammered.
The hurried woman with a bagel in one hand and a coffee on another, taking quick nibbles on her walk but her mind obviously focused on something else A splash of coffee accidentally spills on her blouse. Food becomes sustenance instead of nourishment.
Two girls talking. Or rather one girl talking on and on about her date last night asking for an opinion from her friend…her friend chimes in but gets interrupted. It becomes clear real fast that it becomes less of a conversation and more of a “let me wait for my chance to talk” moment
I’m totally guilty of all of this by the way.
Exercise: Spend one day completely absorbed by your sensations. Think about what you do on a daily basis. Brushing your teeth, getting dressed, listening, talking, eating, driving. Experience simple routine tasks as if for the first time, savoring the sensations and absorbing the detail of the task you’re focused on.
Consider the act of finding a new joy in everyday activities and rediscover how focused you could be when you are thinking, focusing, listening, and slowing down.