Thursday, August 22, 2013

Just shut up!

When life gets a bit heavy or confused, it often helps to shut up.  Stop thinking, stop ruminating, stop taking in information.  Just sit still and quiet.  It helps to focus your eyes on some little spot on the wall, something normally insignificant, such as the very corner of a picture or a piece of furniture.  For five or ten minutes, keep paying attention to the selected visual target.  It can also help to consciously breathe slowly and fully while attending to your target.  Such a respite from bills or pains or worries, and equally, from hopes, dreams, plans, needs, and obligations can help put things into perspective.  Being alert to your target, as though you are a cat or a fox ready for it to move can assist in staying focused, relaxed and ready.  While sitting, you can scan your body for tension, often in the face or the shoulders, that you can relax out of.

Some silence/stillness practices are part of various religious traditions.  All the great religions of the world have documents and practitioners of quietude.  You may know that somewhat separately from Western ideas of religion, there are two paths in Chinese thought that go straight back into antiquity, about 500 years before Christ.  One is the path of Confucius, who tried to lay out the correct approach to many aspects of life, such as relations between people and proper conduct. 

The other path, somewhat in opposition to Confucius, is the path of Lao-tzu, the name given to the author of the Tao te Ching, "The Book of the Way".  It is the document of 80-some short passages that begins famously

The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.

The name that can be named is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.

Naming is the origin of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.

Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Mitchell, Stephen; Lao Tzu (2004-07-27). Tao Te Ching (Perennial Classics) (Kindle Locations 182-186). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

So here is what we might call a secular tradition, one that has lasted more than 2000 years and it basically says "Shush!  Stop with words, ideas, thoughts, plans for a bit.  Take a break from them, precious tools of humanity that they are." You can come back to them, fresh, in a little while.

Main blog: Fear, Fun and Filoz
Main web site: Kirbyvariety

Popular Posts

Follow @olderkirby