Only in quiet water do things
mirror themselves undistorted;
Only in a quiet mind is there
adequate perception of the world
~ Hans Margolis
I often wonder why we all seem to run around like the proverbial "chicken with its head cut off" when in swirling through life like that, we get less done and miss so much.
Just yesterday I was encumbered with what felt like an endless list of "to do's." Moments dashed past me but the list was impervious to my constant actions.
People all around appeared to be caught up in the same frenzy. This frenetic pace seems to have consumed our lives, especially here in Boston to the D.C. corridor. Watching the news illustrates a similar existence everywhere. When and how do we slow down and smell the flowers?
I have always avowed to ease off the gas: What needs to be done will be accomplished. When I find myself in such a harried state, I head out to the forest to connect with my friends the trees, plants, birds, and streams.
Here I know I will be able to stop, look, smell, and listen. Nevertheless sometimes even my tangible presence here in the "wild" won't slow down my mind. I have arrived physically yet my mind gallops on recklessly.
Now is when I locate a rock caught in a beam of sunlight or a soft patch of pine needles. I will park myself gently on this spot, close my eyes and just exist.
Slowly I become sensitive of my surroundings. I become conscious of sounds and smells nearby. I can truly feel the warmth of the sun permeate into my being. By eliminating my visual energies I allow more of the world in.
As I continue to sit quietly serenity works its way into my mind. My thoughts are no longer hurried. I have gained the time to perceive each sound as a separate occurrence. I recognize familiar hums and echoes and songs; the wind whispering as it gently brushes the leaves, the nearby brook burbling over tiny stones, the mockingbird warbling its imitative tune. The perfumed bouquet of freshly blossomed honeysuckle wafts softly to my nose bringing a sweetness to my thoughts. A more pungent scent of damp leaves under the adjacent bushes mixes with the honeysuckle giving my small realm a worldly ambiance.
Now I can once again open my eyes for my mind has quieted. With this fresh, peaceful mood I can actually see more lucidly. The colors and textures of what surrounds me are more vivid and distinct. I observe individual shapes of leaves, branches, ferns, and stones. I am immersed in a vast field of infinitesimal wonders that, together, create an amazing display. Yet I am aware of each piece as it blends to make this earthly environment.
I stand and walk thoughtfully back to the other world of people and buildings knowing that I will be able to confront my list calmly. I can sit on a bench, stroll down a sidewalk, or ever drive in my car and remain unruffled.
This world hasn't changed but my inner world, my mind, is quiet and sunny, unclouded with the frenzy that seems to still surround me. Like the surface of a pond that has quieted after a pebble has been thrown into it, my mind is quiet and I can see clearly to the bottom and everything that lies there and accept all as part of my life, not there to disrupt it but only to be a part of it.
Be happy and be at peace in your world.