Taking Time for Peace

“Where there is peace and meditation, then there is neither anxiety nor doubt.”
St. Francis of Assisi

How busy are you? Do you have a long to-do list? Are you too busy to write a to-do list? Do you keep it in your head? Do you try to avoid thinking about what you need to do? Do you worry about it? Do the thoughts of what you need to do harass you like a cloud of gnats buzzing around your head?

Trying to keep it all together on the material plane can be very distracting. It is easy to become tied up in mental knots as we go through a day of planning, problem solving, striving, worrying, and maybe recriminating. The string of thoughts can wind around our minds binding us like a fish caught in a net. Such busy thoughts can take us off our center. They skew our emotions—make them more brittle.

Taking time to calm our minds may seem like a luxury when we are in the daily rush and struggle, but to push the net metaphor in one more direction, it is like the fisherman taking time to untangle and mend his nets. It doesn’t serve any purpose to trawl with a torn or tangled fishnet, and it doesn’t serve any purpose to think with a confused, turbulent mind.

When we center ourselves and calm our minds, we are able to think more clearly when thinking is called for and respond more appropriately when action is required. Among the things to do today, and perhaps every day, include time dedicated to sitting calmly doing nothing. No physical work, no thought work. No planning or problem solving. Sit. Observe the unfolding moment. Be.

As I lay down my thoughts,
Peace slips in.
Sitting quietly,
Nature comes out to greet me.
Breathing consciously,
Tension falls away.
Worries creep over the edge of awareness,
But I gently push them over the side.
They swim off unnecessary, unharmed.
For now,

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© 2001 Tom Barrett