Last weekend as my dog, Barkley, and I finished our walk, we decided to lie down on the front lawn. Barkley, of course, kept watch for squirrels in the trees. I lay back and looked up. For the moment, I just watched the fluffy clouds slowly float across the sky.
Real peace comes from inside. It is something that we can control. We can control how we view the world. It doesn’t matter how someone else looks at you if you view yourself as a positive worthy person.
I could see the sun beaming down through the newly formed leaves on the 100-year-old maples. It was restful and it was peaceful.
When I was a kid, my friends and I would do just that. We would lie back on the front lawn and look up at the sky. I don’t know why we did it, but when I think back about it those times doing that brought some peace to my then teenage life of chaos. It brought out the inner peace in me. I wasn’t thinking of the future. I wasn’t thinking of the past. I was in the present.
When I was a teenager I didn’t really care if someone thought it was strange to lie down on my front lawn and put my hands behind my head and just look up. Today I might have received a few looks from people as they walked by, but I still don’t care.
For the few minutes that I just watched the clouds I felt good.
Then Barkley licked my face and we got going again.
That’s what’s wrong with us today. The world out there is filled with chaos. We leave in the morning to go to work knowing there’s a stressful commute ahead. We think about problems that we have to cope with when we get to work. We worry about money and status. We lose sight about what should be important to us. We read the papers and watch the TV and see nothing but bad news in our city, country and the world. The world of politics is mean and scandalous.
Real peace comes from inside. It is something that we can control. We can control how we view the world. It doesn’t matter how someone else looks at you if you view yourself as a positive and worthy person.
When I remember the past, I try to savor every second. I enjoy the conversation I am having. I am usually successful in ignoring my BlackBerry buzzing on my hip. I try to listen and understand what someone is saying.
Most of us are not good listeners. We think we are but inside our heads we are thinking about what we want to say. We want to give our opinions. We close our minds to listening. We interrupt someone or finish his or her sentences.
Aside from being rude, we miss out at what this person has to say. We lose out because we are not enjoying a conversation or living in the present.
Isn’t that what life is about… enjoying the journey? We get obsessed with where we want to go and focus straight ahead when the interesting scenery is out the passenger window going by in a blur.
We should remember to look at the world through the eyes of our inner child. Every moment should reveal new wonders. There is a lot of pleasure in listening with our hearts as well as our ears.
Enjoy the conversation. Enjoy the company. If you do, it can be contagious.
There is also a certain downside to multi-tasking. We think we are being efficient, but aren’t we sacrificing quality for speed? Can we really do two or three things better at the same time than one?
If you watch a master craftsman work you admire his attention to detail. You appreciate his aspiration for perfection. He is doing what he loves. And good workmanship lasts a long time. Junk is always junk no matter how old it gets.
Olympic athletes who win gold medals when they are competing are not thinking about their shopping lists for next week. They are striving for excellence in the present. While they compete at the highest levels they are enjoying the experience.
Barkley and I are not striving to win a gold medal or create a table like a master craftsman, or even be good listeners. We have found our small zone of comfort. We just lie on the grass and look up at the sky and enjoy the silence and the company.
We live in the present.