07 January 2011

Mind like a River

Sometimes I think that my mind is just like a river, always changing, always moving, like water rushing on its way and smashing into rocks and cliffs and banks as it makes its way downriver.  There's even the roar just like that of the rushing water sometimes, a roar that overwhelms the silence and keeps me from feeling the peace that could be mine.

But not all water is rushing.  There's a lot of water that sits still, reflecting the light of the moon and the stars, silent and peaceful and lovely.  I'd like to say that sometimes my mind feels like that, but the truth of the matter is that I don't know if it ever truly has or not.  It is one of my goals to get my mind to feel that way, but so far I've never been able to attain what I would call a deep sense of mental peace.  I do try, but my thoughts always seem to find a way to trickle out and join up with other thoughts and once more become a raging river.  And even though I'm tempted to say, "That's just the way I am," I know that the truth is that I still haven't learned how to control my thoughts well enough to slow them down and keep them at peace like a quiet pond at the base of a mountain, surrounded by trees.

I am getting closer, though.  And the closer I get, the more I see the benefit of slowing down and giving myself nothing particular to do for a certain period of time, be it ten minutes, half an hour, or an hour.  Giving myself the gift of nothing to do for a time allows me to slow my thoughts down and to get a glimpse of what it would be like if I were able to truly still my mind.  I don't know what will eventually allow me to do it, but I do know that as I search, I do get closer to finding that peace.

The one thing I know, though, is that I have to keep trusting life to teach me what I need to learn, when I need to learn it.  I have a feeling that such a peace will be wonderful for me when I find it, but that it probably wouldn't be as good for me right now.  In my current work I need a certain amount and a certain type of tension to keep me at the top of my game, and while my times of peace and stillness are great and very helpful, I have a feeling that in the future they'll be much stronger--when I'm doing work that doesn't demand the tension that I need right now to work well at what I do.

Peace is there, for all of us.  And if we keep our minds and hearts open to the lessons that life gives us constantly, then we will find that peace--when we're ready for it, and when it will serve us best in our lives.

Over all the mountaintops
Is peace.
In all treetops
You perceive
Scarcely a breath.
The little birds in the forest
Are silent.
Wait then; soon
You, too, will have peace.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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