Ours is truly a world of movement. We race around in our cars, run around our places of work and then go home and surf the web, while chatting away on social media, texting our friends and talking on the phone. There is nary a moment of respite, a moment when we are not turned on, a moment when we granted the licence to discover and rediscover who we are, get acquainted with that person whom we feel has become a long-lost friend: ourselves.
Filling one’s life with noise is dangerous. We feel like we’re buzzing and crackling with energy constantly – our eyes alert. When we look at others, we don’t do so languidly, or with peaceful hearts, but rather with extreme feeling: hunger, anger, frustration, lust. All of these things lead to a reduction of how we perceive the world around us. In fact, they are dehumanizing. When we look at the people in those extreme ways, we end behaving in a “fight or flight” fashion.
We might snap when someone has done something they thought would be helpful to us, but without telling us. A parent, spouse or partner might rearrange the furniture in our home to make the space cozier, or more hospitable. When we see this, rather than appreciating the care and effort that this person has gone to on our behalf, rather than appreciating the thoughtful surprise they were planning, all we see is an intrusion, an attack. We snap back and get angry, and the person who thought that they had done something caring for us feels rebuked and hurt.
Later on, when we feel more settled, we are overcome with remorse and we want to say “I’m sorry, I over-reacted. I realise now that you only meant the best for me.” But the moment has passed and that person has walked away hurt. The relationship will have to heal. This healing will happen, but it isn’t progress, it is just catching up to where we were before the angry moment.
Sometimes, however we can feel a moment of stillness. It can often happen when we are exhausted from some form of physical effort, like gardening, or team sports, or a good workout, when we are sitting quietly, with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and feeling the delicious exhaustion that comes of a good day’s work, of achievement.
Many of us can think back to the sweet moments that we have felt in a team bus in the dusky twilight after a day’s exertions at a big tournament where we have done our best and are satisfied and feel close to those team-mates against whose shoulders our heads rest. We watch the clouds and the watercolour reds and violets and ochres of sunset glide by. We feel at peace. Our mind is set to voyaging, through the foggy pathways of memory, to past experiences.
It is in these moments that we become reaquainted with ourselves. Quiet moments. Still moments. Real moments. No buzz. No lights. No stimulation. Just stillness and ourselves. Just our feelings and our memories. Human moments.