I have been attracted to this quote attributed to the 13th century Persian Sufi poet Rumi since my 20s. It makes a lot of sense since I am a medievalist at heart. But I’m a lot older now and feeling impatient at the transitions I face in life.
But what is it that I seek? And what do you seek? Is it comfort, love, money, or status? The meaning of life, your purpose? All I know is that the paradox of the quote has me all tangled up in a loop because if you seek it and it seeks you- it’s like the prophecy in Harry Potter: neither one can live while the other survives. The resistance of opposites feels like an infinite loop.
I do have a mystic’s inclination, but at the end of the day, I want to feel like I can get grounded and not experience the infinity wrapped up in the spell of Rumi’s words. I would like to connect with what I seek. It’s time to create a new affirmation: I already have what I seek within me.
Take a long slow inhale counting to four as you breathe in, stop. Now hold it for a count of three at the top, and then slowly let it out– three, two, one. Done.
It has been ten seconds, check and see if you have slightly more head space. In these few seconds you have made the way for a little moment of peace. Even better if you did this with your eyes closed, because then, when you open them again, you might see something new in your ordinary world: the bright green leaf on the rose bush outside your window; the way the cement smells just after the drizzle begins; the flicker of fairy lights atop your mantle, and the fire place is crackling and warm. Breathe and observe. Ahhh. That feels better.
Peace finds me when I delight in the ordinary.
When I am particularly peevish, this is my favorite ten seconds to zen: sipping on Relaxer tea (by Tiesta), fireplace on (it’s a switch on one, so it doesn’t take long to start) ambient scene on the smartv (search via YouTube), staring out the window to a little white rose bush. Dreamtime commences.
What is something ordinary that you can notice that will provide you with a moment of peace today?
Peace, or a sense of calm/Zen had always eluded me as a child and younger adult. I used to think finding it was going to be outside my skill set– reserved for the wiser, more patient folks. I always had hope though– and that may be why I never gave up the quest. Hope, I am told, is a very human trait (emotion?), and I believe hope is what allows us to be creative problem solvers. Without hope what is the point of moving forward? Hope is futuristic and revolutionary. Hope, creativity, and skill is what drives innovation forward. Hope is not fluffy as some might suggest. It is downright necessary, and the stuff of radical positivity– it is the superhero battling entropy.
However, I digress. Back to the original topic: Peace. It IS possible to find a sense of peace or Zen (whatever you wish to call it) if you train yourself to be accustomed to it. You don’t have to be a Buddhist. You don’t have to spend all day meditating or doing yoga. All you need is a dash of childish wonder, and the willingness to begin a routine. I am no yogi nor master teacher, but I have found some calm in this ferociously beautiful and sometimes crazy chaotic world. I would like to share how I got there with you in an upcoming series of posts.
I believe all you really need is 10 seconds and regular practice. What your grandmother told you may be right after all, “Count to ten before you say anything you regret.” Great sage advice. In our hyper fast paced world, 10 seconds is a long time. I wonder when we will begin to divide time into nanoseconds. I am fairly certain it’s possible. Because all things are possible.
Today, I found peace in the ten seconds it took me to breathe in the sweet aroma of the fresh brewed pot of my ginger, turmeric tea while sitting quietly watching the date palms sway in the spring breeze. What peace will you find in your 10 seconds?
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