Paying Attention

(This article is written by guest author Crysta Bliss)

How long has it been since we humans lost touch with each other and the natural world?

Our culture seems a pool of distractions. We spend a lot of time communicating with each other, but how often do we really listen and respond rather than just talk?  Perhaps if we could just pause, come up for air, we might hear more, understand more.  Instead of understanding each other, instead of understanding even our own selves, instead of being aware of our environment, we settle for being distracted.

We compete with each other for things we are told we “need.”  We load up on the things we define as important, such as money, the latest news, the next thing we need to buy.  But these things we have become conditioned to think we need tend to separate us from the natural world and each other.  The jobs we end up doing to obtain these things often make us stressed and unhappy.  So we distract ourselves even more to forget about work.

Such is the standard of our culture that we expect 24/7 fast-food service so we can distract our self with food any time of the day.  We try not to notice the servers, working in the dark for a bare minimum.  We try not to think too hard about the injustices of a system where some have so much and some get so little.  Where the people “at the bottom” are punished for simply being at the bottom.

It’s painful to pay attention, to not be distracted.  Yet we need to pay attention.  We have so much potential as humans, but a culture of distraction is not interested in helping us reach that potential.  Modern culture does a good job of providing us with things and services to keep us distracted, which keep us spending money, which keeps us on the job to make more of it.  But modern culture does not really do a good job of helping us realize our full potential.  To reach our full potential, we need to understand our self, pay attention to others, and stay deeply aware of the environment in which we live.  Yet these are the things from which all these distractions keep us distracted.

(Guest author, Crysta Bliss, is a 21 years old member of the Spiritual Naturalist Society. She is currently a grocer in an organic grocery/eatery apothecary shop in Staunton, Virginia. Her hobbies include hiking, jogging, playing guitar and singing. Her goals in life include being able to do freelance work and to travel). 

Learn about Membership in the Spiritual Naturalist Society

The Spiritual Naturalist Society works to spread awareness of spiritual naturalism as a way of life, develop its thought and practice, and help bring together like-minded practitioners in fellowship.

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