Thursday, December 28, 2006

Quietness and joy

Perhaps it is the imminence of the New Year, perhaps the inspiration I'm gathering from all the blogs I've been reading, perhaps my rediscovered love of poetry is playing a part. Perhaps it is quite simply the end of one cycle in my life and the beginning of another. In any case I'm spending lots of time reflecting on what I want more of in my life, in myself, and what I want less. I want more fun, more joy, more creativity and more laughter. I want more quiet, reflective, meditative moments. I don't want to lose the gift of seeing injustice, of believing in the possibility of a better, more just world (see the Franciscan blessing posted yesterday) but I want to find the courage and the freedom to live with joy in the face of that injustice. I want to be able to maintain a stillness in my soul in the face of the raging madness of the world out here. I was struck by the words of another Rumi poem this week: Quietness Inside this new love, die. Your way begins on the other side. Become the sky. Take an axe to the prison wall. Escape. Walk out like someone suddenly born into colour. Do it now. You're covered with thick cloud. Slide out the side. Die, and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign that you've died. Your old life was a frantic running from silence. The speechless full moon comes out now. Now some of my lovely, loving friends have gently pointed out to me in the past that my constant movement, my need to be busy and "productive" at all times, my exhaustive lists of tasks and goals, might be a bit too much. I know they are right. So I've been making more time for quietness and rest over the past year. Now I think I need to take this one step further. With the guidance and encouragement of my cousin and dear friend Marc I have been learning about meditation. But I'll tell you right now, this is a real challenge for me. I have a CD, from a book that Marc recommended, with a "practice of meditation" track that is 38 minutes long. I brought this CD back to Afghanistan from New Zealand at the beginning of December. I have tried to go through it on several occasions and the longest I have lasted so far is 18 minutes... But I plan to keep trying. Adding perhaps a minute at a time. At this rate I should be able to sit still and quiet for 38 minutes by sometime in March. What's the rush? In the meantime I am carrying on with my newly acquired yoga practice, struggling with the stiffness of my body, but turning up on my mat more often than not all the same. I am reminding myself that the point is not to get my head to my knees but simply to be there in the moment, focused on breathing my way through each pose, through each struggle, through each thought that "I can't do it", breathing through until I've done it and until I've realised that it was the process and not the end point that really mattered.


Lacithecat said...

Ah ... search for Homer's Ithaca ... the journery is more valuable than the destination. I sometime think I am slow in realizing these things. Now that I have - does that mean I am old and wise (smile)? Of course that does not take stock well when caught in the middle of turmoil. With all that you are seeing and doing, it must be hard to seperate your soul from the tragedies/pain at hand.

Smile ... but somehow I don't see myself making it through your meditation tape. Hahaha ... I can see me trying and I am feel this horrible urge to wiggle around - just because I am not supposed to. I am that kind of rebel in all facets of my life. Very bad.

Let me know if you figure the method out!

susanna said...

Oh, how I HEAR you! Your thoughts are mirroring my own - mind you, I don't work in a war-torn country with suicide bombers! I'm in awe of you, m'dear! :) Meditation and yoga must certainly help when you work in such a demanding field. I have found that I can relax most when I am painting or creating some form of art, listening to music that makes my heart sing (I discovered DeVotchKa's How It Ends today on just spending time with a positive friend. Ridiculous dancing always works, too!

My Marrakech said...

I clicked over from Susanna's blog (above). And now I feel a teeny bit anxious b/c I really want a chance to go through your blog but I have to leave for an appointment in just a few minutes. So I am leaving you on my screen and I will be back. I love that beautiful Rumi poem.