Slow day

Slow time does not mean doing things more slowly. People suffering from burnout and depression have slowed down considerably and not been restored. Slow time is entering into a living relationship with the present. . . . Slow looking and slow listening nourishes and revitalizes us.

Sue Stuart-Smith, The Well Gardened Mind: Rediscovering Nature in the Modern World

To let things settle

I can hear the rooks and jackdaws busy gathering twigs for their nests in the trees above my window. The Buddha, it is said, was so still in meditation that the birds were able to nest in his hair. Similarly, St Kevin, an early Irish saint, was so calm when praying with his arms outstretched that a blackbird came and built a nest in his hand, laid her eggs and went on to hatch them. Images of how the mind can become steady, settled in the present moment, even in the midst of so much change and ongoing challenges.

Nothing can help you more than a trained mind, not even your loving parents.

The Buddha

We can make our minds
so like still water
that beings gather about us
that they may see,
it may be, their own images,
and live for a moment with a clearer,
perhaps even with a fiercer life
because of our quiet,
our silence.

W.B Yeats, The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore

Alone and mirrored clear in love’s deep river,
‘To labour and not to seek reward,’ he prays,

A prayer his body makes entirely
For he has forgotten self, forgotten bird
And on the riverbank forgotten the river’s name.

Seamus Heaney, St Kevin and the Blackbird

Statue of Saint Kevin by Timothy P Schmalz at Knock taken from Knock Shrine website

To be still

Every other creature on the face of the Earth knows how to just shut up and sit: a butterfly on a leaf, a cat in front of a fireplace. Even a hummingbird comes to rest sometimes. But humans seem to be constantly on the move all day long. Even during the night we have to dope ourselves just to fall asleep. We seem to have lost the ability of our primitive ancestors to just be still with ourselves. Out of that stillness, our whole life arises.

John Daido Loori, The Eight Gates of Zen: A Program of Zen Training


There are different dynamics in our lives and in every day. Action is needed at times, but rest is equally needed to still the grasping, worrying mind.

If they ask you, “What is the evidence of your Father in you?” say to them, “It is movement and repose”

The Gospel of Thomas, 114 sayings attributed to Jesus written between 60 and 140 AD, saying 50, part 3. 

Be Still Sometimes

This is a poem for someone
who is juggling her life.
Be still sometimes.
Be still sometimes.

It needs repeating
over and over
to catch her attention
over and over,
as someone who is juggling her life
finds it difficult to hear.

Be still sometimes.
Be still sometimes.
Let it all fall sometimes.

Rose Cook, Poem for someone who is juggling her life