I came across a philosophical article about the value of boredom. It resonated with me because I had been alert already as a young mother to "calm down" our children's environment in a creative way. There seems be a constant stream 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. That's what our son and daughter experienced and still do.
While boredom is something that many may relate to during the pandemic lockdowns, more yearn for real stillness, for a mental retreat from the voices raising opinions and from the flood of images trying to suffocate independent thought. Where are those pockets of stillness where we can get a hunch of real peace? A mental sanctuary where quietness is undisturbed?
Surprisingly stillness can be found in a walk around the block. If you have a hunger for stillness you will be fed. In a study with the sole aim of learning - not to fix something. Half an hour of no interruption from texts or tweets. Time to observe and be quiet. For busy parents rushing from A to B a quiet moment in the parking lot. A ride with the bike without aim. Moments of reflection in an armchair. The early morning hours. Time with a cup of tea by the window contemplating. I have the great privilege of a fire place in the house - at 4:30 am I lit a fire today and listened. And prepared this blog post. Listening. True listening is yielding to true unfoldment. In stillness we experience concrete being.
Pockets of stillness distinguish existence from being, they connect us with a sense of unity with our divine source. They reveal in modest and gentle ways the dignity and worth of being. And they strengthen our resilience to express more goodness and individuality, less "mass thinking" in our life.
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, gave this advice to a stressed out pupil, infusing the note with her unique 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)
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.