When our children were younger I read a philosophical article about the value of boredom. It resonated with me because I saw the need to counteract the urge of society to feed children with stuff - films, ads, games, entertainment. Boredom might not be the exact word, but the main idea was that times of quiet "nothingness" are the prerequisite for creativity. It is a great thing to wrap up children in love 24/7, but this doesn't mean to paste them up with entertainment all day. It is a good thing to realize, in a modest way, that real ideas, good ideas, come from the inner world. In practical terms we ensured that each of the children had a required half an hour alone, without external stimulus. Time in the garden or quietly in a cozy niche. Think time. Zoë still calls this "Zoë time" today. Only in stillness and yes, boredom at times, can true creativity unfold. And it did. And it always will. Because of the richness of the world of ideas which can't but express itself constantly.
Pockets of stillness for adults are a walk around the block. A study with the sole aim of learning and growing - not to fix something. Half an hour of no interruption from texts, the facebook messenger, tweets. Time to observe and be quiet. For busy parents rushing from A to B a quiet moment in the parkinglot. A ride with the bike without aim. Moments of reflection in an armchair (no smartphone near by). Time with a cup of tea by the window contemplating. Not pushing anything, just being. Sometimes the silence is filled with angel messages, sometimes it is just - silence. Quiet. I can talk about it also, because I put as a professor and now as practitioner of Christian Science healing appointments with myself into my calendar which I played for keeps as I did and do with appointments with others. In these times I reflected, I read the new Christian Science Sentinel or a passage in the Bible. Without agenda. Just quiet listening. I have come to observe this rule to express itself in my experience: True listening is yielding to true unfoldment.
Pockets of stillness are crucial for survival - they distinguish existence from being, they connect us with a positive sense of unity with our divine source. They teach us to listen. They reveal in modest and gentle ways the dignity and worth of being. And they strengthen our resilience to express more individuality, less mass thinking in our life. And this every day. Because, as I wrote before: The way we live our days is the way we live our life.
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of the Science of Being and the most outstanding healer of the modern age, gave this advice to a totally stressed out pupil, infusing the note with her remarkable sense of humour and wisdom:
“You can take my method, bar your doors, and then hold your solitude with moral dignity by meeting the merciless selfishness of callers with a fixed rule and the divine imperative Principle to be alone with God and never break this rule till you have your interval of study and prayer. I am an exception to all peace on earth – but not to “good will.” The mail and the male and the female claim undisputed powers to break my peace and rob me of all individual exemption from labor. But you have no need of thus surrendering your rights for others. I have written this in bed in the still hours while others sleep, - after 3 o.c. in the morning.” (Mary Baker Eddy, cited in Lyman Powell, The life of Mary Baker Eddy, p. 182).
No wonder that she could write about "an indefinable pleasure in stillness, soft, silent as the storm's sudden hush." (Christian Science versus Pantheism, p. 3) With pockets of silence in your day, the pleasure of stillness is yours - every day.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.