”All of man’s difficulties are caused by his inability to sit quietly in a room.” — Blaise Pascal
I want to tell you a true story that happened yesterday.
I like to do the right thing on Sunday and make breakfast for JoAnn and me. Mind you, I only really have one culinary skill — but it’s a good one, handed down through many generations of British ancestors.
I’m very good at boiling eggs. So as usual yesterday, JoAnn and I each had a boiled egg and toast — the eggs boiled, though I say so myself, to perfection.
Nothing unusual so far, right? We ate our breakfast, and I put everything away properly because there’s no point in only doing half a job, is there?
A nice walk planned
I had planned to go for a nice walk after breakfast, but after finishing up in the kitchen a strong compulsion arose in me just to sit down in my favorite chair and be still.
I try to follow my inner “nudges,” so I put the walk on one side and sat down obediently in my chair. Immediately, a thought came up, “You could read the newspaper.” But reading the paper didn’t feel right.
With no previous intention on my part I disappeared, as it were, into a “thought free zone.” For about an hour, I simply sat in my chair, utterly surrendered to an experience of happiness and joy that in one sense felt very new and in another sense very familiar.
Like being bathed in a fountain of bliss
It was like being bathed by love, while sitting in a fountain of bliss. Once in awhile a thought came up, but I just wasn’t interested. The joy and peace that I was experiencing was so beautiful, complete, and compelling.
We tend to be afraid of stillness. Being busy is what keeps us sane, after all, or so we think.
But here’s a suggestion for this holiday season. Give yourself permission to sit quietly in a chair for a moment — and see what happens.
When JoAnn’s life changed on a dime
One evening about 15 years ago, my wife, JoAnn, a few years retired from Shell, was sitting quietly in a chair in a small town home in Denver.
It wasn’t a happy moment, particularly. She was wondering to herself things like, “Is this all I’m supposed be doing with my life? Is this it?”
Suddenly she had a momentary sense that someone was sitting in the empty chair across the room — and almost immediately, the phone started ringing. It was me, in Vancouver, also feeling a bit stuck, wondering what my next move in life was supposed to be.
I had never met JoAnn, but I knew of her. I had decided to come down to Colorado to spend a few days at the headquarters of a spiritual group we had both belonged to for many years, and I thought, “Why don’t I call JoAnn? May be we could have a coffee together?”
That’s how we got together. We were married a year or so later.
Is love on the move?
Is love on the move in this world? I think it is.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if back of all the excitement and apprehension of our lives and of the holiday season is one simple agenda — one simple truth — the determination of eternal love to reclaim “human nature” for itself?
No more separation. No more suffering. No more fear.
But we have to take responsibility of course — because we are that eternal love.
Let’s give ourselves permission to be still for a moment this holiday season and see what happens. Perhaps the masterpiece of your own eternal Self will reveal itself to you in an apparently inconsequential moment — perhaps you will see it shining in the face of a loved one, or in a stranger…