I went to a Meditation Mount yesterday to watch the sun set. It was a beautiful winter’s day. Close to the Solstice which I can always feel in the air, the impending feeling of change. Maybe grand, maybe small but I can always feel it...
After walking the grounds, I sat down and spent about an hour just sitting. Not really consciously meditating, but not doing anything else really either. I sat there with my feet propped up, enjoying the warmth of a Winter sun, listening to the birds doing their thing. A slight breeze in the air. Life’s only purpose was to bear witness to all the life going on inside and around me.
As I sat there, a thought crept into my consciousness that perhaps the reason we slow with age is so that we are re-gifted the ability to wonder. Our bodies slow down and we are given the gift of slowness to our days. Time to reflect upon the life we have lived, how we are currently living it and all the wondrous things that occur when we are present for our lives.
Then I thought about our own developmental infancy and how we are brought into this world, unable to move on our own and many of us leave this world in similar stead. Perhaps this removal of movement, this inability to be physically busy at the beginning of life and it corresponding place at the end of life, is the greatest gift life ever gives us. When we enter this world, we are stationary beings, dependent upon others for our care, we are gifted the ability to observe our surroundings, because we really have nothing else to do. We become intimately familiar with the curve of our mother’s face, the smell of our father’s aftershave, the touch of a warm hand on our back, the light that wakes us each day and leaves us briefly for the night. We observe, we see, we rest because we really can’t do anything else.
And then one day we begin to crawl and that is the beginning of life’s middleness with all its attendant busyness and activity. And then decades are consumed often without intention or real purpose and we miss a lot. We are working, striving, accumulating, growing, changing, marrying, divorcing, child bearing, and raising. We have little time for rest and the rest we are able to wrest from our demanding schedules and lives is brief, and far too often drops us into sleep which takes us further away from what is really going on.
Then one day, feeling like the blink of an eye, we are older, slower, and all we have time for is resting. If we are fortunate enough to grow old, we find ourselves with little else to do but rest and wonder at the life that has passed, the life that persists and all the things that happened, and didn’t along the way. We are given the gift of wonder one more time before our final exit.
How perfect is that?
We are brought into the world surrendered to the busyness of others, our job only to watch and observe. Resting in the motion of life, noticing, learning, watching, growing. Waiting for our turn to be called up into the stream and get swept away. We go on like that for decades, swimming, striving, moving with and against the stream, only to be landed onto the shores of our lives, older, more decrepit and unable to really engage in the busyness of others. Idle, we watch and observe and are again delivered to the station in life where wonder is the best thing we get to do.
Life is about rhythms and has its cadence. How fitting that we come into life watching, wondering and we leave it similarly if we are paying close attention.
I am nowhere near the idleness of advanced age, still very much caught up in all the busyness of life unfolding but yesterday I caught a glimpse of how lovely it can be to do nothing on a warm December afternoon but sit in the sun and watch it slowly fade away. There was no timetable, nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one to please or serve or placate. Just time to be there, with my feet propped up living life as a stationary object content to observe the wonderments of this most amazing life. And it was awesome. It made the advance of time a little less brutal feeling and a little more enjoyable. To know that there is time to sit and marvel and wonder still.