Good morning to you all on this fine sunny day in the shire.
Someone really hacked me right off big time yesterday, which has prompted me to finally finish a book that was recommended to me a while ago by my therapist. Its by Jon Kabat-Zinn and titled “Wherever You Go, There You Are”
It basically, amongst other things, tries to awaken us to the unique beauty of each present moment and shows how the simple meditation technique of mindfulness can enable us to be truly in touch with where we already are.
Here’s a short excerpt that I’m sure most people should be able to connect with.
SITTING BY THE FIRE:
In the old days, once the sun went down, the only source of light people had, other than the change of moon and firmament of stars, was fire. For million of years, we human beings sat around fires, gazing into the flames and embers with cold and darkness on our backs. Maybe this is where formal meditation first got its start.
Fire was a comfort to us, our source of heat, light, and protection, dangerous but, with great care, controllable. Sitting by it gave us relaxation at the end of the day. In its warm flickering light, we could tell stories and talk about the day past, or just sit silently, seeing the reflection of our minds in the ever changing flames and the glowing landscapes of a magical world. Fire made the darkness bearable, and helped us feel secure and safe. It was calming, reliable, restoring, meditative, and absolutely necessary for survival.
This necessity has flown from our everyday lives, and with it almost all occasion to be still. In today’s fast paced world, fires are impractical or an occasional luxury to set a certain mood. We have only to flip a switch when the outer light begins to dim. We can light up the world as brightly as we want and keep going with our lives, filling all our waking hours with busyness, Life gives us a scant time for being nowadays, unless we seize it on purpose. We no longer have a fixed time when we have to stop what we are doing because there’s not enough light to do it by… we lack that formerly built in time we had every night for shifting gears, for letting go of the day’s activities. We have precious few occasions nowadays for the mind to settle itself in stillness by a fire.
Instead, we watch television at the end of the day, a pale electronic fire energy, and pale in comparison. We submit ourselves to constant bombardment by sounds and images that come from minds other than our own, that fills our heads with information and trivia, other people’s adventures and excitement and desires. Watching television leaves even less room in the day for experiencing stillness. It soaks up time, space, and silence, a soporific, lulling us into mindless passivity. “Bubble gum for the eyes” Steve Allen called it. Newspapers do much the same. They are not bad in themselves, but we frequently conspire to use them to rob ourselves of many precious moments in which we might be living more fully.
It turns out that we don’t have to succumb to the addictive appeals of external absorptions in entertainment and passionate distraction. We can develop other habits that bring us back to that elemental yearning inside ourselves for warmth, stillness, and inner peace. When we sit with our breathing, for instance, it is much like sitting by the fire. Looking deeply into the breath, we can see at least as much as in glowing coals and embers and flames, reflections of our own mind dancing. A certain warmth is generated, too. And if we are truly not trying to get anywhere but simply allow ourselves to be here in this moment as it is, we can stumble easily upon an ancient stillness behind and within the play of our thoughts and feelings that in a simpler time, people found by sitting by the fire.
“In my opinion, everyone should give this book a go, you will take something away from it, no matter how shallow you are”
Just one word of warning though, there’s no actual pictures in this book, which is a bit of a bummer to say the least.
Love & peace.
Trev toes Lumley
“You Can’t Stop the Waves, But You Can Learn to Surf”