Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just sitting

Today we went to Capitola and just sat by the ocean watching the waves and the sky. It was beautiful.

We didn't talk much. I didn't think about a whole bunch of stuff either. It was good.

On the way home as I was thinking of how little we sit and do nothing, I remembered something from a James Herriott book. He wrote about a family, I think it was a sister and two brothers, who lived on a farm, and after their day of work, they ate supper, then sat on a bench on the porch. And that's all they did, just sat for some time and then went to bed.

I thought, too, of this British comedy I watch called "Good Neighbors." In that story, a husband and wife try to be self-sufficient in the suburbs, living off the land. In the evenings they sit on two kitchen chairs facing their big wood-burning stove. And they, too, just sit. Of course since it's t.v. they talk, but still they're not watching t.v. or anything, they're just sitting.

I sometimes feel guilty that I want to occupy my mind all the time. When I'm doing boring things in the kitchen, I much prefer to listen to my iPod while I work. Or when I walk or exercise. If I don't listen to something while I walk or exercise my brain seems to absolutely lose its ability to think. After a while I start mindlessly counting my steps. It's agonizing. Even when I've tried to use that time for prayer, after a while I can't think of anything more to pray about and it's 1, 2, 3, 4, aaauugh. You'd think I could be alone in my mind for a while!

I've heard it's a discipline, it takes practice. I guess I don't want it bad enough to put in the time. Shallow or not, I think I'll keep listening while I work or walk.


  1. I don't know if it's shallow or a reason for guilt; however, you could try to escape the verbal brain functions by focusing on the physical aspects of what you're doing: the feel and smell of the food you're preparing, the noises, like chopping and sizzling; the air temperature and feeling (wind, moisture, etc.) when you walk, the sky scape, the colors of the trees, grass, and other plants, the sounds you hear while you walk.

    Probably the reason you could sit without thinking at the ocean is because you were occupied with visual beauty, the sound of the waves, the smell and feel of sea air.

    But I can relate. This is the problem I have with housework.

  2. I remember a poster from a long time ago: Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.