Mindfulness as expanded awareness

Recently I watched the movie 500 Days of Summer. (PS Don’t read this if you haven’t seen it and you don’t want me to spoil the ending).

I thought the movie was not only cleverly made, but it really captured the pain of being attached, sort of speak, to one reality and one outcome. The movie follows the lead character who wants very deeply to be in relationship with the person he believes is “the one.”

At some point in the movie there is a conversation in which the lead character is talking to a girl about a place that they both like to go to. The conversation is with someone other than “the one.” The conversation goes something like this:

Girl: “I think I’ve seen you there.”

Guy: “Really? I haven’t seen you there.”

Girl:  “Maybe it’s because you weren’t looking.”

I like this part of the movie because, despite the grief, pain, typical “first love”, and the pining after a desired relationship that doesn’t bring about a desired outcome- somehow in all that chaos there is something about starting to be awake to what the universe has to offer on the universe’s own terms.  It is time, sort of speak, to “start looking” at what is not being seen.

When I am in a lot of pain and I am pining after a desired outcome, sometimes I am not looking at what is going on around me. I can’t see it. I can’t pay attention to it. I can’t absorb it. My universe is centered around my distress. It takes a lot of effort to attend to a different way of seeing; a different perspective.

Mindfulness as expanded awareness has to do with looking, and seeing, and opening up one’s eyes to what the universe has to offer.

It’s certainly not always easy.