Blaise Pascal said, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” With only a passing acquaintance with the skills of mediation and a societal pressure to ‘get things done’ and ‘be productive’ I often move from task to task and experience to experience without fully appreciating what gifts await in each moment of the day. As we move through these days of stress, or if “social distancing” brings anxiety and loneliness, each of us can seek moments of quietude and beauty. Perhaps in a sunrise or a glimpse of a visiting bird or the bravery of a struggling crocus in early spring. My favorite poet, William Stafford, invites us to embrace the goodness and beauty of this day.
From David Waas
this, be ready
Starting from here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?
Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?
When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life.
What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?