Zen Diary – July : going on holiday.

July : going on holiday

When activities link up together, isn’t this the moment to un-link? Holiday time is ideal for this, and invites us to get up close to that most spiritual of practices : the art of relaxing. One piece of good news : the art of relaxation can be practised right now ( if you are not already on holiday or if you’ve used up all your leave ) and it’s free!

Taking time out like this has the advantage of creating a break in the constant unfolding of days : from the moment of rest ( from the moment when we stop) a surprise or something astonishing can spring up , which allows us to rediscover a world beyond our normal experience. God himself, from the height of his splendid perfection gave himself this wonderful space. “ On the seventh day he rested!” And thanks to that rest,that wonderful inspiration, he had the leisure to create the world….

Learn to stop

It’s not so easy to stop when everything is accelerating and distraction is the norm. To start with, the easiest practice is to sit in front of a window.. and just do nothing. Stupid? Not at all. With no goal, no idea of gain, just being present to what is here. It’s like the beginning of an adventure really, as we have no idea what might happen. Be watchful! The splendour of the present moment can rise up from nothing ( or a lost pigeon) The exercise is disconcertingly simple. Do nothing. Nothing at all. One minute of silence dedicated to watching, listening, feeling. Body and mind being directly linked, this pause has the benefit of stopping or slowing down the rhythms of the body. Think too about breathing properly and let your thoughts come and go.

The key: a practice to be learnt little by little,progressively, giving oneself the time to tame emptiness.

In addition: there’s a good chance that if this minute of rest has made you feel fantastic, you’ll be tempted to go on longer …..2,3,4, 10, 20 …minutes. And to allow this sentence of Durkheim’s to arise “ The voice of silence is that of ripening fruit.

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