Sunday, July 6, 2008

What beats unplugged relaxing? Recharging

I wrote last time about unplugging from daily life -- taking time away to breathe. A more difficult task is staying spiritually connected even in the midst of our busy lives.

Perhaps "unplug" was the wrong word to use, because the more I think about it, the more I think the key to surviving when life becomes hectic is to stay plugged in -- plugged in, that is, to the source of our spiritual energy.

Most of this weekend I was exhausted from a tough week of long workdays. The solution, I thought, was rest. So there I was plopped in front of the television, catching up on recorded episodes of Doctor Who. Or reading a book. Or doing a crossword puzzle. Or surfing the Internet.

But no matter how hard I tried to entertain myself, I didn't feel refreshed. Just because I wasn't working didn't mean I was resting. It was just a different way to use up my depleted energy. I was unplugged, all right, but still whirring along.

What I needed was to recharge, not just relax. And that requires more than physical stillness. It requires an inner stillness, a receptivity, a recognition that I do not need to be distracted from the goodness of life in this moment.

This is something I learn over and over again, which shows what a slow learner I really am. I forget what truly nourishes me. And as often happens when I realize -- again -- that I need to plug in more than to unplug, I looked up Edward Carpenter's poem "The Lake of Beauty":

Let your mind be quiet, realising the beauty of the world,
and the immense, the boundless treasures that it holds in store.
All that you have within you, all that your heart desires,
all that your Nature so specially fits you for -- that or the
counterpart of it of it waits embedded in the great Whole, for you.
It will surely come to you.

Yet equally surely not one moment before its appointed time
will it come. All your crying and fever and reaching out of
hands will make no difference.
Therefore do not begin that game at all.
Do not recklessly spill the waters of your mind
in this direction and in that,
lest you become like a spring lost and
dissipated in the desert.

But draw them together into a little compass, and hold them
still, so still;
And let them become clear, so clear -- so limpid, so mirror-like;
at last the mountains and sky shall glass themselves in
peaceful beauty,
and the antelope shall descend to drink and to gaze at her
reflected image, and the lion to quench his thirst,
and Love himself shall come and bend over and catch his
own likeness in you.

So as we all return to work after the holiday weekend, my wish for you and for me is still waters and true refreshment.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. Its the silence, stillness that I need. I'm going to do it this week for at least 48 hours.

Anonymous said...

Silence, beauty, peace ... all precious and all necessary for the connection with oneness that we all seek.
Am I the only one having big problems in allowing young sociopaths with their ballcaps on backwards to rob us of our spiritual connection, invade our home and health, trigger adrenaline overdose and pollute our soundscape with loud car stereo thumping from up to a quarter mile away, multiple times a day, every day?
We have lost something extremely valuable in allowing this noise (same Latin root as 'nausea') to continue.

Anonymous said...

I also love silence and agree that the loud thumping bass is annoying. The sociopaths in khakis and golf tees yelling into their cell phones at the bank, in line ordering food, or pretty much everywhere is just as bad!! I'm sick of hearing trite, banal conversations and idiotic ringtones when I just want a quiet moment to gather my thoughts.

Iztok said...

For me recharging is when I don't have to travel and an evening with my chatty daughter is helping me more then a quiet time in hotel room away from home.

Even a night like last night when I came home at 4am after spending hours in ER was a powerful recharging moment. On the other hand, this evening is a still but tense one with daughter in hospital.

Good thing is that she is in good spirits and likes her hospital stay and likes the help she is receiving. I never thought I was so looking forward to talk to her for 5 minutes today and for visiting her tomorrow.

Quiet moments are nice, but for me recharging comes when spending some good family time.

Danbo59 said...

Nothing recharges me like like spending an hour in front of The Blessed Sacrament. My church holds Eucharistic Adoration from Friday afternoon through Saturday morning. Sometimes if I can't sleep I drive the 2 miles to the church and sit in the chapel along with a few others in the peace and quiet, in the presence of our Lord and just clear my mind and pray. When you walk out, it's!

Karl Marx said...

Religion is the opiate of the people. It's like ... wow!

David McKnight said...

Sometimes I try to get spiritually rejuvenated while riding the regional transit buses between chores in Raleigh and Durham. I look for a nice seat in the back corner or perhaps by a window halfway back.

Then I say the prayer of the Triangle Transit Authority commuter: "Lord, please lead those who wish to have long and irreverential secular conversations on their cell phones all the way from Raleigh to Durham to some other section of the bus besides the seat right in front of me!"

Bob said...

So is that why they come sit in front of me? I pray to the Lord to smite them with fire and sulfur, but it hardly ever works.

Anonymous said...

When trying to do or be anything we are using energy. That's OK. There's a lot of energy. But it matters what we are doing with our mental energy, where we are focusing it. I have Post-its on my monitor saying "Chose Life" and "Chose Happy Thoughts." It's surprising how much they help.