"Be still and know that I am God."
I remember my dad yelling, angrily, demanding that we kids shut up so he could get some "peace and quiet." The threatening tone of his voice and likelihood of imminent violence usually did shut us up--at least for awhile.
Dad loved to fish. One of my strongest visual memories of him is of the day I looked out the front window of our apartment and saw him silhouetted against the sunsparkles of the lake a couple of hundred feet offshore, sitting quietly in his beloved rowboat, fishing pole in hand. He could sit like that, motionless, surrounded by the stillness of that small Northern Illinois lake for long periods of time just peering at the red and white bobber. Often, he returned to shore seemingly in a good mood, quieter, more content.
It wasn't at all surprising that when his doctor advised him to finally retire and "just go fishing", my dad did just that. He bought himself a camper and a trailer, and for much of final year and a half of his life, he traveled and fished from coast to coast.
I think the quest for "peace and quiet" is probably universal. Thich Nhat Hanh once wrote that even the businessman's smoke break was an attempt to stop and breath, to find a moment's peace within the busyness. The promise of the Practice is that we that we can engage in that journey with some degree of skill, that there is actually some method to our madness.
As today's quote from Ram Dass points out, there are deeper and fuller realms of experience available to us. As we cultivate Mindfulness, we are more likely to notice ourselves being calmer, quieter. The cacophony of random thoughts and feelings and bodily tensions tend to release their grip a bit, and a sense of silent spaciousness emerges in our lives. Yet--and here's where it gets interesting--we are also more likely to experience sounds and other sensations more vividly. Sometimes it may be helpful to remember to look at Ram Dass's statement a bit differently:
The quieter you become, the noisier it gets!
As more time and energy are devoted to Mindfulness Practice, there will be times when the volume