Just look

We have a tendency to analyze when we look at things in daily life. We think, “She looks old today,” or “The light is too strong for me,” or “That flower is starting to fade,” and the like. We tell ourselves that we are just trying to understand what goes on around us, that we want to be attentive. We may even imagine that, after all, don’t artists and creative people spend hours analyzing things? That even resumes are praised for traits like “detail-oriented.”

But while we are busy extracting detail we are also engaging a faculty that assumes a certain standard, a certain norm to which the object of our scrutiny does not conform. Thus we see the fading flower in contrast to the fresh one. We can trap ourselves into assuming that only the flower at a certin point is truly a flower, not realizing that what is fading is still a flower, too.

When we recognize that what is before us is as real as what we consider its norm, that the flower is always fading — or, better, that the flower always was what it was — then we will be able to appreciate everything so much more at whatever “stage” it represents to us. We will be able to just look.