When I'm walking through the trees, I often stop still. It doesn't matter where. And not to look at a beautiful scene or to watch a bird. It's to get out of the world of movement-through, and enter the world of existing-with. In those moments I don't just see the leaves in passing, I live with them where they live. I can feel their lives, as they are, not as something pretty outside of myself. I stand beside a tree that shades the bush beside me. And has since its leaves enlarged in the Spring. They wobble in the slight breeze that is now flowing between them, across which a spider is making its way, slowly, above the grasses and herbs which have spent the last months growing there, little by little, to their present height and fullness. This is their world.
When I'm moving through it, I'm in my world and oblivious to it. I may see it, but like a painting on my living room wall.
When I stop, I exist in its world, with it. My body is there with the tree and the bush and the spider.
And now I'm noticing everywhere how difficult it is to move from one world to another. For instance, lately I've been getting myself off a sleeping pill, which I've taken for most of a year, the result of anxiety. The doctor said I have to decrease the amount I take at exactly the right rate, along with a pill of melatonin each night, which is the body's natural sleepy-time drug. That went well. Finally, I was down to the tiniest bit, a quarter of a pill. But between that and none there was an immense gulf. Even with the melatonin, my body simply refused to go to sleep by itself. It wouldn't make that final switch in motivation. After one or two nights with no sleep at all, and then just a bit after 8 in the morning, my brain suddenly remembered the old world of normal sleep. What a relief. Now I fall asleep naturally. And so beautifully.
And then there's progress. I don't know about you, but I and nearly everyone I've ever known or heard about are totally immersed in that world. We're very seldom outside it, and when our progress is stalled, we don't just stop and rest in place, we desperately distract ourselves until the movement begins again. Maybe it's partly that we associate stopping with the Big Stop that's coming. Maybe also that we've been so strongly conditioned all our lives to move forward that we can't look off in another direction for fear the halt will become permanent. And it could. We see that around us, homeless people, the glimpses of which motivate us even more firmly to keep moving.
So, many of us never give ourselves the chance to experience the world we pass through. We may think we do. Or we simply don't want to.
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Stan Burfield Linda standing still on one of our hikes.
Like · Reply · 1 · 3 July at 17:10
Barbara Green Love this, Stan. It's a poem ... how about this, starting with the epigraph? "We halted and so knew that the quiet night was full of sounds..."
- T. E Lawrence in his "Seven Pillars of Wisdom"
Often the best part of walking
is standing still.
It doesn't matter where.
Not to gaze at a beautiful scene
or watch a bird
but to leave the world of movement-through
and enter the world of existing-with.
In those moments
I don't just see the leaves in passing,
I live with them where they live.
I feel their lives.
Beside me, a tall tree shades a bush.
It’s been doing that since its leaves enlarged
in the swelling spring;
they wobble in the slight breeze flowing between them,
across which a spider is making its way, slowly,
above the grasses and herbs.
This is their world.
When I'm moving through it, I'm in my world,
looking at their world like a painting on a gallery wall.
When I stop, my body is here with the tree and the bush and the spider.
Like · Reply · 1 · 3 July at 17:47
Stan Burfield Lovely, Barb. You took out all the effluence and left in the water. I thought there was a poem in there somewhere but hadn't found it yet. Thanks!
Like · Reply · 1 · 3 July at 17:53
Stan Burfield Barb, my sister, who is becoming my editor, says, "Do you know what? Barb’s poem has got it exactly, what you were saying, but in pure poem form. Isn’t that astounding.? Is it acceptable to keep that poem, to publish someday?" I said I would ask you.
Like · Reply · 3 July at 20:22
Barbara Green Stan Burfield Totally -- it's all you. I resisted the urge to do anything other than prune.
Like · Reply · 1 · 3 July at 21:13
Barbara Green And it didn't need anything else, anyway!
Like · Reply · 3 July at 21:13
Stan Burfield :) Thanks, Barb. You're an angel.
Like · Reply · 3 July at 21:14
Cambridge N Calvin Keenan My sleeping pill seems to be in love with me and won't let me go ..... lol
Like · Reply · 3 July at 18:00
Stan Burfield Ha ha. I know what you mean!
Like · Reply · 1 · 3 July at 18:01