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.