The best of a world that incessantly seeks our attention, and that has the ability to reach us, be that through devices or direct contact, is connection. It is community. It is learning. It is kindness. It is wondrous experimentation. It is compelling emergence. It is new configurations. It is magic.
The worst of a world that incessantly seeks our attention, and that has similar ability, is noise. It is clutter. It is competition. It is relentless marketing, be that of a product, idea, or narrow ideology. It is imposed distraction. It is squeaky wheel. It is whining. It is fear.
I continue to learn that in such an impressive interconnected world, seeking our attention, it is vitally important to remember practices of stillness and silence. I continue to learn that it matters that any of us cultivate inner abilities, not just outer abilities. Clarity, not just tenacity. Stillness, not just movement. Being, not just doing. So that we can add some deliberateness, not just default, to how we offer our gifts into flow of life.
For me it means simple things that I sometimes forget. A walk mixed in to an unaccomplished todo list that overflows the day. Five – twenty minutes of breathing to start the day, and to add to the middle of the day if needed. Private journaling to have opportunity for unrefined expression. Writing dreams to feed voice of the subconscious.
From Gunilla Norris, who remains to me one of my most important teachers that I’ve never met in person:
Study the way waves wash onto the shore,
or the way rings float out on a lake
when a pebble splashes through the surface,
moving without apparent effort. There is
an organic pace to this. We, too, have an organic pace.
Silence can help us feel it.
In our culture we do not trust time.
We try to defy time. We steal time. We kill time.
We want to control the flow of events,
instead of trusting in a natural progression —
instead of trusting that we can and will
meet life as it happens.
Here’s to attention, in the best of ways, including high regard for the moments when all we do is sit on bench, welcoming the silence to sit next to us.