What makes wine more interesting than lemonade?
What makes a forest nicer to look at than a brick wall?
I could write essays about this.
About the cultural associations wine has to celebrations, good times, relaxing in front of the fire… and the pleasant buzz that comes along with all that.
About the physical and mental health benefits of trees. The way they scrub the air of toxins and fill it with phytoncides. How they stimulate something deep in your unconscious that tells you this place is home, is safe and is here to nurture you.
Instead, I’ll focus on something specific:
That strange and undeniable sensation you feel when you look at something amazing.
Something so complex you could stare at it for hours and still find something surprising.
And how you can never predict exactly what you’re going to see – but you can bet it’s appealing.
A single tree is complex enough. You could walk by one every day and never notice it. Then, when you start paying attention, you can find something extra with each glance.
Is that true of brick walls too?
To an extent, I suppose.
But a tree (let alone a forest) takes it further. Spend enough time in nature and it starts to feel familiar. It’s not the familiarity of your home, though – because you haven’t seen most of what you could see. It’s close, though.
Wine is similar, to a lesser extent. The more familiar you become with wines, the more each glass can surprise you.
This might not be a complete definition of wonder.
But this joy of complexity, of familiarity and surprise, is a part of it.
There’s something about your unconscious that loves things like this. Even if you can’t stand wine and aren’t into trees, I bet the things that take your breath away are complicated and surprising.
This might be the simplest mind training practice around:
Go into nature.
Look at art.
Watch a city from its tallest skyscraper.
Find something you can stop and stare at for a while. Even if it doesn’t move.
Especially if it doesn’t move, but holds your attention anyway.
If this idea sounds weird to you – maybe it’s vague, or airy-fairy, or the unhinged rambling of someone who probably takes drugs and doesn’t bathe…
… then good news! You are ripe for some mind training.
You haven’t engaged your unconscious in a long, long time. Otherwise this would be obvious to you.
And if you’re disconnected from your unconscious, you’re operating at less than 2% of your potential.
No joke, no exaggeration.
Again, that becomes pretty obvious once you train your mind like this: