An oddly overwhelming message.

I wrote yesterday about the wonderful plan I have to eat lunch at my desk, and then spend my half-hour lunch break outside, under the beauty of a tree or allowing my mind to be lulled by the music of the river which wends through the park near my work. To spend that time in prayer, in reflection, in meditation. In solitude, and in peace.

It’s probably not a huge surprise that my plan didn’t work – the day got busy, a meeting got scheduled, and before I knew it, it was four o’clock. Then suddenly, five to five. Then five past five, at which point I was stupid enough to pick up the insistently ringing phone (I finish work at five o’clock). Then gone half-past five by the time I got out – with not one heartbeat spent in peace, or prayer, or reflection.

And I chafe against it, and I resent it a little bit (really, day? You can’t give me a break for half an hour?), but I’m also kind of ok with it. Because increasingly I’m aware of the fact that I rely on the busyness of my mind. I rely on the demands of my life, on my lack of leisure time, on my lack of mental stillness, on the constant movement of my mind. Because stillness is scary. Because stillness – I think I might have said this before – gives emotion a chance. Because stillness forces me to face the fact that I’m tired, fairly constantly. That sometimes I’m frustrated. That sometimes I’m angry. That often I’m sad. That sometimes I’m happy – which is actually, perhaps counter-intuitively, more frightening than simple sadness.

In my meditation group yesterday, I found myself swept towards the sense of overwhelmedness. The ticking of the clock was urgent and thunderous in the room’s silence; the quiet sweep of morning traffic outside was clamourous, chaotic. The silence itself became just as overwhelming as the din of a crowded room. It was tempting simply to stand up, gather my keys from the floor under my chair, and walk out.

I’m not sure why this happened. Maybe because I was tired – it’s a before-sunrise start to get to the morning meditation group. Maybe because it’s been a number of weeks since I’ve done any sort of meditation at all, and my mind is no longer used to being devoid of demands. Maybe because I was apprehensively facing my frist day back at work after a fortnight’s leave. Maybe because I have post-traumatic stress disorder and my limbic system is an over-reactive drama queen. Who knows.

My hunch though, was that it was all of the above. And that somehow, there’s probably a lesson in that: slow the hell down. Thank you. Love, God.


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