Post #300: Doing Nothing

If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death. – Pablo Neruda

2012-12-14 18.30.33I thought this may be a good quote to kick off this momentous (at least to me!) post: number 300! I’ve been blogging now for nearly 4 years and it has been great for me to say some of those things which have been churning inside of me and things that have been uplifting and challenging in my life.

Thank you for being a part of it and reading the random strings of words I call a blog.

As Pablo Neruda (quote above) insinuates, we need times of space in our lives consumed by absolutely nothing. This silence helps us to disentangle the threads of our life and gain some perspective and idea of where we are and where we need to be.

I was struck by this when I was sitting on the beach last Friday, by myself. Vicki had gone for a walk to find us some fish and chips. I had enjoyed a swim in the growing swell of high tide and was now “chilling.” With nothing but the sounds of the beach–waves, seagulls, children playing, people walking dogs, the odd jet ski–I sat in stillness with nothing but this deep down sensation that all is well.

Without such moments (and they can be simply moments, or extend to hours and even weeks), I don’t believe we can ever understand ourselves. And this lack of understanding (or, perhaps, a mis-understanding) of ourselves and our place in life can overcome us and suffocate us.

So, for those of you who call the southern hemisphere your home, take some time out in the sun: sit on a beach, walk along a river, relax in a park, stroll through a garden, position yourselves on a mat in a back yard and be still. Be silent.

“As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.” ― John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”
― Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

“The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence.”
― Marianne Moore

“If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the spoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in the darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the center of the silent Word.

Oh my people, what have I done unto thee.

Where shall the word be found, where shall the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence”
― T.S. Eliot

“In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.”
― Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear. ”
― Baba Ram Das


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