The storm which arrived in Ireland and England yesterday and overnight helps us to be more aware of the world of nature and its power. However, it is always there, even in its smallest, quietest elements:
Reading the world
As if it were a book
Written before words —
That sparrow perched
On the withered stalk
In the garden — isn’t
The bird itself
A song to the beloved
Even before it sings?
Gregory Orr, American Poet, 1947 –
photo Linda Tenner
This is what we notice when we simply sit quietly with ourselves for even a few moments: we experience the accumulated momentum of mental noise, booming and buzzing. We notice how strongly we are trained to want something different from what is happening. We notice that our minds are very well-trained in dissatisfaction and distraction. Almost always our focus is on something else — not this. We seek another moment of greater happiness — not this moment. Contentment seems always elsewhere — never here.
Gaylon Ferguson, Natural Wakefulness
The point of intersection of the timeless
With time, is an occupation for the saint.
T.S.Eliot: The Dry Salvages V
In Ireland, and the rest of Europe, the clocks went back last night (whatever that means) and we have an extra hour today. It happens next week in the US. Arbitrary distinctions, but they prompt us to be more aware of time. Two minutes before midnight 2012 is not much different from two minutes after midnight 2013 and yet we assign huge meaning to certain transitions. To help us deal wisely with the passing of time we concern ourselves with the present moment, in whatever form it takes. We loosen the meanings we assign to it, which often distract us from being fully engaged. We practice sticking close to how things actually are, rather than how they “should” be:
Sometimes we divide our time into categories: you have time for work, time for exercise, time for eating, time for your partner, time for the children and finally, you hope, time for yourself. But the ….attitude [behind mindfulness] is that all time is for yourself: whatever you’re doing, however trivial, is equally important to everything else. No time is wasted. We should give total respect and attitude to whatever we are doing.
Larry Rosenberg, Living in the Light of Death.
People sacrifice the present for the future.
But life is available only in the present.
Thich Nhat Hanh
This is the simple truth
– that to live is to feel oneself lost –
He who accepts it has already begun to find himself to be on firm ground.
José Ortega y Gasset, Who Rules the World.
It’s a Bank Holiday, or long weekend, here in Ireland, so one immediately feels as if there is more time to slow down and take a break from the rushing which the working week inevitably impresses on the mind. A certain space enters, allowing us to see things more lightly, or to see them with eyes that have the room to appreciate them:
Childhood is not a state which only applies to the first phase of our lives in the biological sense.
Rather it is a basic condition which is always appropriate to a life that is lived aright.
Karl Rahner, Catholic Theologian, 1904 – , 1984