What better to do during a glorious summer’s day than to stand and stare? Often we’re so busy rushing from place to place, job to job etc, that we forget to pause, appreciate our surroundings, or even stop what we’re doing and just breathe.
From a yoga perspective practising pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation are ways to pause from what we’re doing and to reflect on ourselves and the world. Research into meditation shows its positive effects on body and mind, including improved ability to deal with stress, increased feelings of relaxation, feelings of acceptance and many other benefits. But if you find it difficult to set aside specific time to practice specific breathing techniques or meditation why not do it during your day when you’re technically doing something else? For example, next time you’re walking somewhere just pause, for one minute, and look at something – the leaf of a tree, the colour of the brickwork of a building, the colour of the sky, or listen to the sounds all around. Or stop and stare whilst you’re washing up. Look at those bubbles. Look at the pattern on the plates. After one minute of just pausing, you’ll feel that little bit calmer, slower, more relaxed.
Two things remind me of this – one a title of a book and one a poem. Once when I was on a retreat I flicked through a book in their library called ‘Don’t just do something, sit there’ which was all about planning your own mini retreat at home. The title makes me smile as it’s the opposite of how I was brought up (“Don’t just sit there, do something!”) – sometimes it’s ok just to sit there. And this concept of stopping and appreciating the moment is wonderfully encapsulated in a poem called Leisure by W H Davies which I came across in a book of poems during another retreat.
Remembering this, I will try to stop on my next quick-march walk somewhere from A to B, and stand and stare.
Leisure, by W H Davies
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
Text taken from Poemhunter.com
And shame on my ignorance but I didn’t know he was Welsh!