What Do You Notice?

On Noticing Good/Bad But Not Attaching To It

Several years ago I had this thought…

I was considering smells and what they really mean. I smell things and sometimes they smell beautiful, and sometimes they smell nasty. So, as I was thinking about this, I was trying to decide why a smell can smell “bad” — I mean some smells can make a person nauseated.

I remember when I worked at Holly Sugar how strong and unpleasant the smells were there. I was sick one day, and when I walked into work the smell hit me.  I immediately ran to a trash can and threw up!

So back to the topic. What is a smell? From what I understand, it is small particles of the substance that you are smelling. So why do we decide that one smell is bad and one is good?

When we sense that we are smelling something, a signal goes to our brain and says “you are smelling oranges” or “you are smelling poop.” We then make a judgment and say “that stinks” or “that smells nice.”

So, I remember several years ago talking about this with my sister, Ameris, and trying to explain it to her.

Most smells that smell bad are not physically bad for you, but some are. It would make sense that smells representing harmful substances would be perceived as bad, but something like sulfur is perceived to smell bad, but is actually good for you. Your body needs sulfur to survive. Your body has a large amount of sulfur in every cell.

Sulfer is good for your skin, so, why does it “stink?”

I felt then, and now, that when we judge a smell it is due to a learned pattern.  We have decided something smells bad from programming of societal, inherited, or family teaching, not from the substance actually smelling bad. 

After all, dogs don’t seem to think anything smells bad.  All smells, to a dog, just seem interesting.


So fast forwarding to today…..

I am reading Tolle’s “A New Earth.”  He just said “Some sounds may be natural — water, wind, birds– while others are man made.  Some may be pleasant, others unpleasant.  However, don’t differentiate between good and bad.

Allow each sound to be as it is, without interpretation.

The unpleasant sound I thought of, is the car driving by with the bass shaking my house.  The bass is not the “unpleasant sound.”  The unpleasant sound is the guy driving the car that is so rude —  blowing his own ear drums and no respect for others.

But is he really the problem?  

I judge that sound, not on the basis of it being a musical rhythm, in tune, and an even interesting sound.  I judge it based on preconceived notions about its creator. (Gangster rapper guy)

So Tolle has been telling me for a few days not to not judge, but to just notice.  When noticing, recognize the peace inside and the “nothingness inside” as you observe.

This made me reflect back on smells. I tend to judge so much, and yet I used to believe that I did not judge at all. My eyes have been opened. I judge every smell, every sound, every thought, every event.  I decide how to label these things. 

Events happen in life. From now on, I will notice the event.  I will enjoy it, if it is enjoyable.  If I am enjoying it I will understand that it is just an event.  It does not last forever.  It does not define me.  I am not the event.  I am the partaker of the event. 

Who I really am is a Son of God, enjoying a beautiful creation that He has blessed me to recognize.

Perhaps next time 2a.m. comes by with a trunk-rattling-bass-low-rider, I will see that God created that person, the ability to hear, and wonderful music of which to listen, and I will remember, that good or bad, I can just recognize the true source of life, and not get caught up in judgment.

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