The art of just watching

When we ‘just watch’ the universe, we bring back the ability we had more as children, to attend and perceive without judging. Photo by Jamie Fenn on Unsplash

Watching can be a calming activity.  One of the reasons people watch television is to experience the relative peace of taking something in, without having to influence it.  While we watch a film, we are in receptive mode.  We tune ourselves to absorb story, character, visual, music and words in a particular way, without judging, without influencing.

We are, in part, informational beings.  We are born with a massive amount of spare space in our heads, and immediately set about filling it up with experiences.  Our brains are evolved to take those perceptual experiences and ingrain them into our memory.  At first, we specialise in absorbing the new.  Eventually, in later life, we specialise in interpreting what exists using already-developed paradigms.

When we ‘just watch’, we return to those early days of acceptance of perceptual experience.  We overcome the need to perform a judgemental running commentary on anything and everything.  We simply observe.

See what you can watch today.  Instead of judging everything you see, treat is as ‘just there, to be watched’.  Don’t bother deciding who is good and who is bad; who is beautiful and who is ugly; who is kind and who is unkind.  Watch with a more open mind.

You can always go back to judging things later.  Give yourself a rest.  Imagine, perhaps, that the world is a dream, or a film, and you are sitting on a sofa watching it.  Even when you are active, watch yourself in the same way.

Eventually, you become ‘the watcher’.  Pain and pleasure cease to affect you so much, because your attention does not need them in order to function.  If you can get close to an experience of ‘pure awareness’, then you can become relieved of the suffering involved in trying to mould the universe to your wishes.  The universe just is as it is, and that is enough.