I love words—especially those words that lay a hand on my heart. Words that call out to me to reread them, then cause me to pause and reflect for a moment. Yesterday I had such a moment. While reading a passage from Buddha’s Brain, I came across these words of Tenzin Priyadarshi:
If there is no stillness,
there is no silence.
If there is no silence,
there is no insight.
If there is no insight,
there is no clarity.
Those who know me well, know that I do not slow down often. I generally have a number of projects and passions going at once: teaching, speaking engagements, writing, community work, early morning gym workouts, running on the beach, music endeavors, home chores, connections with friends, time with my bride, and on and on. No complaints; I am fortunate to do what I love to do. What is generally missing (for me), though, is some quality “still time.”
I have read about the importance of meditation—and how it can improve one’s life emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually. Buddha’s Brain tells us that “people are now learning meditative practices to become more productive, pay better attention, heal faster, and feel less stressed.” It helps us concentrate which can help us tap into insights.
I do realize that the reason I struggle with this is that I have not made it a priority in my life. My wife diligently finds time to meditate. I easily find other things to move ahead of “still time” on my daily list. And, I always have an excuse. Each day, however, I make a new promise to do better.
Over the past few months, a number of people in my life have had significant life-changing diagnoses. Each one caused me to stop in my tracks and reflect—and remind myself that life does go by in a blink. We have to appreciate what is in front of us at this moment. (I wrote about this October 31, 2010 in my post on this blog titled “No Promises.”)
People smarter than me have said that we end up spending a lot of wasted time ruminating about the past (something we cannot change) and inventing our future (often times conjuring up little “worry mini-dramas” that NEVER come to pass).
Perhaps we should aspire to the philosophy of one of my students this term. When I call roll each class session, most students either say “present” or “here.” One young fellow, cheerfully responds every day with “In the present moment!”
That seems like a very worthy goal.
©2011. Steve Piscitelli and Steve Piscitelli’s Blog