I think most people will agree that we live in a fast-paced and often noisy world.
Of course, the idea of "noisy" means different things to different people. I happen to be an introvert, and I am also very sensitive to noise, in the physiological sense of the word. Not only do I not like noise, but my startle reflex has resulted in my being on the butt-end of practical jokes for most of my life.
Peaceful view, Big Sur, California
Stillness is Often a Paradox
The whole idea of stillness and peace and quiet often presents itself as an interesting paradox.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving, here in the US of A. I happen to really like Thanksgiving Day because it tends to be a "quiet" day, at least in my perception.
That might seem like an oxymoron to some, given that Thanksgiving is often celebrated with parties and festivities, and that often includes a bunch of people yelling at the TV as the football game progresses.
In this case, the "stillness" I am referring to is the stillness of commerce; the stillness of human industry.
If we back out a little further, we might even characterize it as the stillness of stress; the energetic background noise level of people "having to" engage in a bunch of activities drops towards zero.
Another peaceful view
Paradox Within a Paradox
Of course, many people actually like noise, business and the sound of being active and industrious. And I'm totally OK with that...
But the paradox — at least in my perception — is that a bunch of these people might also be found reading books about "Finding Inner Stillness" and going to meditation workshops to be quiet.
What's the paradox, you might wonder.
Well, we purport to want peace and quiet and even hold it out in front of ourselves as a goal, and yet we fail to actually choose it! It's almost like it becomes some kind of unattainable "brass ring" we just can't quite manage to reach... no matter how hard we try.
Buddha in the labyrinth
I once confuddled one of my neighbors who asked why I was so often riding my bicycle to the stores when I had a perfectly good car.
"Because I like how QUIET it is," I replied.
Victor didn't quite understand it. He also didn't understand why I used a small non-motorized hand push mower to cut my little patch of grass, rather than a power mower. Or why I trimmed the hedge with a pair of hand shears, rather than a motorized hedge trimmer.
For me, it was never about the amount of work or convenience, it was about the noise level.
Incidentally, not just the noise level as it affected me, but also the noise level as it spread around to the greater world in the form of noise pollution.
But stillness and quiet remain paradoxes, even for me. As I type these words, I am listening to techno music... which might surprise most people who know me, and who would probably think my office space would be either silent or perhaps have some Zen flute music in the background.
Hey, I never claimed to make sense!
Hope everyone here in the US — or wherever else you might be celebrating — had a great Thanksgiving!
Thanks for reading!
(Another #creativecoin creative non-fiction post)
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