Every day we look briefly at things and dismiss them because they are of no significance or of no importance at the time. What we see is not crucial to our survival, nor does it have any bearing on what really concerns us at that moment. We don’t want to waste time looking at these things, just as we don’t want to waste time waiting at traffic lights! On the other hand we don’t glimpse at traffic lights, but we pay attention to them, for our very lives can be threatened if we ignore them.
When cruising my boat my senses are heightened and I am aware of what is happening at all times. The great majority of decisions for action arise from things seen, heard, felt, smelled or tasted. The sense of sight is the most informative. Our eyes are designed for immediately detecting anything that moves, particularly objects that may threaten us by travelling towards us. Even the tiniest gnat is detected.
This heightened awareness when cruising my boat tends to make me more conscious of things I would normally only glance at. Everything becomes important, not just when sailing, but when ashore perhaps doing the shopping, riding on a bus or going for a walk. Even chatting with people becomes a new experience because of this heightened awareness. Attention spans are increased and the recall of recent happenings improves. Memorization vastly improves. No longer does the brain resemble a cabbage; it becomes a live, active, functioning organism. The little grey cells become sparks of fire that send tingling sensations down the spine. One becomes alive.