[Back to Index]

Be Quiet

Aug 9, 2005

Today I felt the distinct need to put up some signs in the library of my mind.
Signs that say: Shhhh!

There has been a lot happening in this Here & Now. Grand Central days full of comings and goings. So many good people, places and projects. And when it rains it pours (this we know). There are some stretches of life that come in plain cotton weave. There are others silkspun in double shades and shot through with gold thread. And it is these stretches that can leave me a little dizzy. Because there is an edge of excitement that comes with this kind of richness, a headiness that comes with a certain slipping away from control. You don't drive a roller coaster- you ride it. And sometimes it feels the same way with life. I find that I have to be careful though- not in an apprehensive What Goes Up Must Come Down kind of way- because that's just an earthbound kind of pessimism, but more because excitement can be a sort of enjoyable tipsy-ness. And even though I do think that equilibrium is sometimes overrated (most of us are somewhat the better for being every so often swept off our feet- the only thing to remember is that you have to get up again or you run the risk of being rather ineffective and feeling somewhat foolish :-)) I am beginning to understand how balance is the real key.

There is a certain kind of elatedness that brings with it a lack of true attention. A superficial thrilling that amounts to a kind of thoughtlessness. It struck me today in an unguarded moment how insensitive to my surroundings I can be sometimes when I am caught up in the high tide of circumstantial happiness. Which isn't to say I'd prefer to walk through the world with gloomy-eyed, wrinkle-browed stability, it's just that I think I'm beginning to experience how helpful it is to clear space for inner quiet- especially when everything on the enraptured surface is whirling like a dervish.

On my desk at work each morning someone places a flower in a small vase. Each day it's something different. Bursts of white, red or yellow hibiscus, pink bunches of oleander, a spray of flame-of-the-forest, fragrant country roses, the odd bottlebrush blooms of calliandra. Sometimes in the middle of a crowded humdrum morning I will look up and my preoccupied glance will catch on the quiet surprise of their presence. Looking at a flower- really looking at it is a return to grace and sometimes that's all you really need to hush the humming drumming of the day.

Funny how quiet things can speak so loud and clear. Flowers and sunsets and the spaces in between the conversations of true friends.

Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet.

Said a one-time prince named Gautama.
Not silent but quiet. There is a difference there that I am only just beginning to appreciate. Silence is in some sense an extraordinary extravagance of quiet. Hard to afford continuously when you are as most of us are, engaged with the dailyness of the world. But where you can't be silent without, you can still be quiet within.

I know what you are thinking. Such basic truths that she arrives at so slowly! But what to do? Sometimes it seems to me that I am growing older and more foolish. Or maybe just more aware of my foolishness, and somehow that doesn't seem to me like the way it's supposed to work...Or maybe that's just the way wisdom comes to some :-)

[Back to Index]


Projects I'm Involved With

"Service doesn't start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take."

"Real privilege lies in knowing that you have enough."