How Are You Seeing The World?

The art of unhooking from your stories allows you to see what’s in front of you rather than seeing what you’re looking to see.


The practice of mindful looking starts with unburdening ourselves of the stories we’re constantly telling ourselves, says Diana Winston, director of mindfulness education at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center. It’s the difference between “looking,” she says, and “looking to see something.” It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Each day, most of us think nothing about the fact that we wake up and don’t make a move until the sunlight or a light turned on in our room is there to guide us. In the grand scheme of the planet, however, that’s an unusual orientation. Most species, including all manner of insects, plants, and animals, primarily navigate the world through pheromones. While we all know that dogs have a better sense of smell than we do, the same is true for most species on the planet, according to biologists such as E. O. Wilson. A moth may be drawn to a flame, but it will also be drawn to a willing mate by minuscule quantities of a particular molecule emitted by a potential partner scores of miles away. At that distance, a human would need a dating app—or at the very least a friend willing to…