March 13

Today's quotation:

You don't need to leave your room.  Remain sitting at your table and listen.  Don't even listen, simply wait.  Don't even wait.  Be quite still and solitary.  The world will freely offer itself to you.  To be unmasked, it has no choice.

Franz Kafka

Today's Meditation:

There are so many ways to take this passage that it can boggle the mind.  Is Franz encouraging us to do nothing but sit around in order to reach enlightenment?  Or is he going deeper, showing us a way of seeing something that we never will see otherwise as we hurry through life, running from task to task and unable to sit silently for any reason, at any time?

I know that I'm far too often task-oriented, trying to accomplish as much as I can with the short time that I've been granted on this planet.  I often feel that I should spend more time sitting at the table and just enjoying the fact of being, without putting any expectations or worries on myself.  But life intrudes, and bills must be paid and other people have expectations of me that must be fulfilled.

"The world will freely offer itself to you."  I think that the world freely offers itself to us all the time, but we're just too busy to accept the offer.  Any gift that is given requires a recipient, or it's no gift at all, is it?  And if life is offering itself to us and we can't take it, then we've closed ourselves off to one of the most wonderful gifts we possibly can imagine.

I may never know what Franz Kafka means with these words, but I do know that in the future, I'll have a much better idea of what it means to sit silently at a table, waiting.  Perhaps I won't be waiting for life--I'll be waiting instead for my heart and soul to slow down enough and open up enough to see and understand and accept what life is offering to me.

Questions to consider:

How often are you able to sit quietly for relatively long periods of time, without putting demands on yourself to "accomplish" something?

Why don't we value more the ideas of silence and waiting and listening?

What might you experience if you were able to sit quietly and wait?
For further thought:

We collect data, things, people, ideas, profound experiences, never penetrating any of them ... But there are other times. There are times when we stop. We sit still. We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or its memory. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.

James Carroll


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