Eyes Wide Open

Jim:    Hello.  I’ve been waiting for you to appear.  And, if Fishing Without Bait is something you’d care to investigate further, please listen on.  For those who choose to continue to listen, I congratulate you on having an interest to participate in your life.  To create yourself rather than to find yourself.  Combining serendipity and synchronicity.  Let’s make 1+1=3 and create a reaction rather than waiting for one.  Let’s confront fear.  Let’s use it and expect the unexpected.  If that’s something that intrigues you, follow the sound of my voice.  Dare to look for white rabbits, and learn to make a conscious choice on which rabbit hole to go down.  Are you ready to live a life without definitive expectations?  And immerse yourself in your existence with full-impact mindfulness?  Allow me to help you Fish Without Bait.  Raise the curtain.  Let the adventure begin.  Today, in our Fishing Without Bait studios I’m joined by my good friend, co-host, and producer of this program – Mr. Mike.  Mr. Mike, as usual, I’m asking you to tell me something good about yourself.  

Mike:    Oh, I’m back in from traveling and so happy to just be kind of settled in and reacclimating to my surroundings.  

Jim:    As Dorothy would say in the “Wizard of Oz” there’s no place like home.

Mike:    Indeed.

Jim:    And, this may seem a strange way to start the program – however, I’m going to ask you if you’re familiar with the comedy trio called The Three Stooges?

Mike:    I always caught them every once in a while on the TV growing up.

Jim:    And, as I was preparing today’s podcast I was recalling a particular episode where Larry calls out to Moe – the leader of the gang, as he must have had an IQ half a point above an ice cube – Moe!  Moe!  I can’t see!  I can’t see!  To which Moe replied what’s the matter?  And, Larry replied – I’ve got my eyes closed.  And, Mike, that’s the topic of our conversation today – which lends itself to our concept of full-impact mindfulness.  And that is living life with eyes wide open and not eyes wide shut.  So, tell me Mike, what do those two phrases mean to you – eyes wide open and eyes wide shut.  

Mike:    I think the eyes wide open is just an awareness of everything that is going on.

Jim:    And, before we delve any further into the podcast, I would like to recommend those who may have either seen or not seen our blog on the beginner’s mind – it’s a perfect representation of that beginner’s mind.  Which is a mind that’s open to possibilities.  A mind that has no preconceived notions and can see the awe and wonder in everything around them.  Do you remember that, Mike?  A picture of a little girl who’s overcome with joy in front of a huge bubble?

Mike:    Certainly.  Just that focus – that emotion.

Jim:    That sheer joy of being alive.  In contrast, we talk about the expert’s mind – which we often refer to as living life with blinders on.  A life where we have perceived notions on how things should be, or what we’re looking for.  So, Mike, walking through your life with eyes wide shut is being non-receptive to information.  Close-minded.  Having preconceived notions of how something should behave.  How it should look.  How it should talk.  How it should walk.  And, frequently this happens to people who are wrapped up in their own ego – when they’re looking for something that would satisfy their own ego or something that would fluff it up.  I’m reminded of the short story by the author Edgar Allen Poe called “The Purloined Letter.”  Have you ever happened to read that?

Mike:    I had not.  

Jim:    It was about a document – a very important and sensitive government document that was stolen.  While the police investigators and intelligence agencies searched diligently and frantically for that letter – searching everyone’s home who had had access to that document.  They were unable to find it.  When the person who took the letter finally gave it back they found out that it was being hidden in plain sight.  In fact, it was on the wall.  The investigators and the detectives were all looking for something in places where they thought somebody would hide something.  When, Mike, it was right in front of them.  Mike, you and I have often spoke about technology and its limitations, and its benefits.  I’ve often spoke about being the observer behind this technology, and asking whether we are in control of it – or is it in control of us.  So, let me give you an example, Mike.  I do believe that spellcheck is one of the greatest inventions human beings have yet achieved.  However, Mike, it’s made me a terrible speller.  My thoughts are that as more and more of us rely on Google we become shallow thinkers and are often willing to accept what is put right in front of us, or looking for something that we’re asking for.  Mike, are we skimming over life?  Are we grazing?  Are we glossing over?  Are we losing a great deal of the meaning of life?  And, I know that perhaps at times you have conflicting opinions.

Mike:    Oh certainly.  I think there are certainly points where we’re catching the gist of things and maybe not taking a deep dive into things happening in our lives.  I enjoy technology because I get to keep up with friends that maybe were unable to – and there are friends that maybe would have just gone by the wayside if I don’t do that.  But, it’s still meaningful.  And, it’s still important – and I still make a point to make sure to say hey, let’s go have lunch.  Hey let’s go hang out.  Hey let’s do these things with my personal and my business contacts.  And, I think that’s – it’s a tool.  And, it should be used as a tool.  It shouldn’t be used as a replacement for life and experiences.

Jim:    Well said, Mike.  Well said.  Mike, are you familiar with the old Cliff’s Notes pamphlets?

Mike:    I am.  I didn’t get to use them a whole bunch, but I am familiar with the concept.  

Jim:    For those of you out there who may be unfamiliar with them – they were pamphlets.  And, when you were assigned to read a book, and you had no desire or time to read that 325-page book, you got Cliff’s Notes – which gave the highlights of the book, however, few if any of the details.  My challenge to everyone out there is to ask whether you’re living a Cliff’s Notes version of your life.  On the other hand, could you share with me your thoughts of living life with your eyes wide open, Mike.  What does that mean to you?

Mike:    For me, a small example of that is living and looking up.  Looking up and seeing the city.  Looking up and seeing things around you – and absorbing them.  Not just the nature and the views, but looking up and seeing what other people are doing in the line at the grocery store, and not being so presumptive.  Actually, kind of, take stock of things.

Jim:    If you remember as also in some past podcasts we’ve referred to the awareness test on YouTube where we asked people to see the moonwalking bear.  Of all the people that I’ve showed that to, Mike, only one person has seen the moonwalking bear on their first viewing.  Find the moonwalking bears of life.  They’re not in Cliff’s Notes.  So, Mike, we often talk about mindfulness – in its most simplest form as paying attention on purpose.  We often challenge people to be present in each moment and perhaps unlike other podcasts or speakers we actually show people how to do these things – not just tell them because it’s good for them.  So, on a previous podcast we had are you alive check-in, with a check-in list to see if you were alive.  Mike, you remember science fiction films – I know you’re an aficionado.  Where space ships, submarines, radar, sonar, airplanes – rely on directional beams to get them through storms.  What happens when these sensors go off?  

Mike:    You go dark.

Jim:    So, essentially they’re operating blind, are they not?

Mike:    Right.

Jim:    And, here is where walking and living in the dark – those stories generally do not have a good ending.  So, when we’re talking about paying attention on purpose, when we’re talking about full-impact mindfulness, we’re actually talking about a waking meditation.  A fully conscious meditation.  If someone would ask you hey, Mike, what’s mediation?  Give me a definition.  What would you say?

Mike:    For me, it’s a clearing of the mind.  It’s paying attention to the part of your mind that you don’t.

Jim:    It’s clearing out the chatter.  It’s clearing out the nonsense of your life so we can see what’s right in front of us – to see the details.  Having our sensors on.  It’s something that brings us to consciousness – to see what’s actually happening right in front of us.  To pay attention on purpose.  Are there difficult moments in life?  Are there sad moments?  Of course there are.  And, what do we do with them?  We allow them to be.  We embrace these experiences and turn them into experience and wisdom.  It’s when we label these things as good or bad that we set ourselves up for what we call self-fulfilling prophecies.  So, Mike, today, we’re going to wrap up with – guess what – another quote.  And, this one is by T.E. Lawrence – also known as Lawrence of Arabia, a great film.  And, his quote is we all dream but not equally.  Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find out that it was vanity.  But the dreamers of the day are dangerous.  For they may act on their dreams with open eyes to make them possible.  So, my thought to everyone out there is – are we going to use caution, play it safe, and merely survive life?  Of course we have concerns for personal safety – food and shelter.  And, these are important.  However, quite often, when we have these things – when we’ve fulfilled them, our desires, our goals for enrichment and growth are put on the backburner.  And, these often show up as regrets – especially near the end of your lifetime.  So, as T.E. Lawrence described the dreamers of the day as dangerous.  As these people have imagination.  Able to make decision.  Living and participating in life.  Having all sensors on – and that’s my challenge out there to you – to be dangerous.  Live a life Fishing Without Bait and fully-impact your life.  Until next time, your challenge as always is to be kind to yourself.  Be kind to another.  And, be dangerous.  Namaste.  

Please check out our website at FishingWithoutBait.com where you can listen to the show, comment on our discussions and find out where you can subscribe to our podcast.  If you’re interested in flying the colors of Fishing Without Bait, click the “SHOP” icon on our website to get clothing, mugs, cellphone cases, and so much more.  Show the world that you Fish Without Bait.  Fishing Without Bait is a production of Namaste Holistic Counseling, P.C.