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  • Writer's pictureErin Chandler

What Today Brings

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau

Walking alongside a creek in the woods, one person sees water and a bunch of trees while another sees God, he sees beauty in every blade of grass and purity in every clear drop of water. One person sees a mountain top while another sees majestic mountain peaks touching the sky at its highest point and bridging the gap between heaven and earth. That person who saw majesty in nature may go to New York City and see an ugly concrete jungle. The person unaffected by nature may see power in NYC and architectural perfection.

Thoreau was right, it is not what we look at that matters, it is what we see. Each of our personal lenses are vastly different, made up by a combination of experiences, desires and spirituality. I suppose someone without an ounce of belief in something bigger and more powerful than himself can see beauty in his surroundings but the more spiritual person will experience gratitude for the ethereal.

Thoreau’s most famous work is a novella called Waldenor Life in the Woods. This work of non-fiction chronicles the time he spent two years alone in the wilderness. It was on a piece of land owned by Ralph Waldo Emmerson where he isolated himself, a time he referred to as “an experiment in simple living.” What came out of that experiment was Walden, a critical commentary of modern society in 1854. While step by step, he breaks down life off the grid, he muses on the land, the morality of hunting, the importance of reading classic literature and the animal kingdom. Ultimately he chastises those who conform to the materialistic society from whence he came.

Waldenis just one example of how subjective the information is that travels from our eyes to our minds and hearts. I believe we will forever have the ability to hold dear that which strikes us as important. We can train our brains to value a certain gift from nature and by the same token, disregard what is ugly and holds no lasting effect. In other words, don’t look for the darkness and give it power, look for the light, hold it high and precious. Wayne Dyer puts the sentiment in the simplest of terms, “Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. The five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe.” Amen sir, awe is most certainly worth fighting for.

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