I have to say that up until now I have been oblivious to there being a ‘National Quiet Day’. That’s not to say I’m oblivious to the benefits of taking time out, giving myself space and stilling my mind. After all, these are part and parcel of what Fresh Air Fridays provides but sometimes it’s easier said than done.
And that’s the thing – when it becomes something to be ‘done’ we can easily start to lose the benefit of doing it in the first place! I was very present to that last week.
It’s been busy at Fresh Air Fridays HQ and so – keen not to waste the journey time – I took my trusty laptop for a longish train journey. I was very much in busy mode myself and wanted to make a dent in my ‘to do’ list. Then I glanced out of the window and noticed how green everything had become again. As I paused, I remembered that I’m a human being rather than a human doing, put the laptop back in its bag, turned my phone off and started to just be on the train.
I people watched, I closed my eyes and tuned into my breathing, I looked at clouds out of the window and felt gladness in all those things. I was quiet and my mind became still. I arrived refreshed and replenished.
And the work I’d set myself to do? With a calm mind, I was able to see things much more clearly and got it finished in half the time when I went back to it later.
Clear thinking and work finished in half the time is a bonus – we are mindful because it works in a host of different ways. We don’t practice to achieve a specific result or outcome, it’s rather that these things arise because we give ourselves the practice. Try taking some quiet time today – a few minutes is all it takes to start. Tune into your breath… just notice your breath moving in and out of your body. Or you could try tuning into what you can see or what you can hear. If your mind wanders off (as minds tend to do!) gently bring your focus back as you notice it’s happened.
Enjoy your quiet time, however you choose it.