January 14

  

Today's quotation:

We spend most of our time and energy in a kind of horizontal thinking. We move along the surface of things going from one quick base to another, often with a frenzy that wears us out.  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 lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or its memory.  We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.

James Carroll

Today's Meditation:

"We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves"--what a marvelous image this is.  For most of the time in our adult years, we think that losing ourselves in a pile of leaves is a waste of time and effort, that focusing on something so "unimportant" takes time that we should spend collecting data and things.  But the time spent focused on the smaller things in life are the times of peace, the times of renewal, the times of bringing ourselves to an entirely new level.  These are the times when we let our cares sink back into a place where they aren't able to create the tension and the stress that they normally cause.

Peace is a wonderful word, a wonderful thought, a wonderful feeling.  The idea of peace is integral to all major religions, and it's almost universally recognized as one of the most important goals that we could set for ourselves.  If we can find peace, we can act with grace and dignity, our decisions become clearer and less influenced by tension, and we can allow things to happen to us and around us without losing our composure--and not because we're in control, but because we're completely sure that there's no need to be in control.

Collecting ideas and data is an attempt to be in control, to know what we "need" to know and do what we "need" to do.  So many of our actions are motivated by the idea that we're supposed to be "in control" of ourselves and our lives, yet the only true control lies in the recognition that we don't need to be in control.  We can lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or take delight in a long walk or climb a small mountain, or we can stick to our work or our personal lives, trying to "make sure" that everything turns out right--in other words, how we want things to turn out.

"We stop. . . . we listen."  Four amazingly simple words that are so difficult to put into practice sometimes.  But learning how to do these two things can provide us with an inner peace that simply cannot be attained any other way.  We all have the choice, and it's difficult to imagine anyone choosing stress and work over peace and equanimity.  It's always up to us, and we can do ourselves a world of good by stopping, listening, and recognizing the peace of this world.

Questions to consider:

Do you often feel at peace?  What are the factors that are in place when you do?

Is it easy for you to get caught up in collecting data and things?  How do you feel when you do?  In the short term?  In the long term?

Where is peace in your life?  Is it there with you, an important part of you?  Or is it something you see as outside of yourself, something that you have to go searching for?

For further thought:

It can be tempting to blame others for our loss of direction.  We get lots of information about life but little education in life from parents, teachers, and other authority figures, who should know better from their experience.  Information is about facts.  Education is about wisdom and the knowledge of how to love and survive.  But no matter how much advice you get, you are the one who chooses which train to board.  As you pass through life, pay attention to the signs and stations; if you don't like the scenery, pull the emergency cord and get off the train.  There is no other conductor in charge.  There is no one who needs to give you permission to transfer.
This is your life.  Your journey.  Your trip to conduct.

Bernie Siegel

more thoughts and ideas on peace

   

  

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