“Wisdom tends to grow in proportion to one’s awareness of one’s ignorance.”
– Anthony de Mello (Indian psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, writer, and a Jesuit priest)
Leo Tolstoy is considered one of the greatest authors of all time. When asked what would be his most important advice to humankind, he said, “For God’s sake, stop a moment, cease your work and look around you.”
Tolstoy appealed to us: Pause! – The magic word that could empower you beyond your wildest imagination, and yet, paradoxically, it’s the most untapped tool.
Although many think it’s a sin to delay your work or take it easy, remember it takes a lot of hard work to do nothing!
When you take a break, calm down, live in the moment and celebrate the now, you have unleashed the most powerful of human endowments.
What do we do when we Pause?
Nothing! Just stay present and then slowly connect to your needs and feelings.
In the tradition I come from, we sing and dance in kirtans- vocal chants of devotion to God. A good lead singer builds up the tempo and takes it to a crescendo, and just at the peak, he stops- for a second. At that moment, all accompanying instruments- cymbals and drums, freeze; and almost immediately after, there’s an explosion of divine sound. It’s that moment of suspension that impacts the fast musical chanting, and participants go wild, and they dance exuberantly.
A daily time-out has a similar effect on our fast-paced lives. Often, we dance to the tune of our duties. Our frenzied lives drag us from one activity to another in the ‘to do’ list. Nonetheless, if we now chose to discontinue for a few minutes daily, it would surely enhance our ‘dance’ and help us honor our lives better.
Betty Smith, in her ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklynn,’ tells us what to do when you interrupt your work: “Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. This is your time on earth filled with glory.”
To be continued…