Clouds draw the water up
to become rain;
the ocean takes the river
back into itself.
What this means is
we often need to be refreshed.
Rumi, A Year with Rumi (March 29)
Yesterday's decision to go off the computer was partially prompted by the determination to get work done around the house. But it was also inspired by Anne LeClaire's wonderful book, Listening Below the Noise. And though going off the computer isn't quite the same as adopting silence, there are certain similarities that seem appropriate as we move into Holy Week.
Did you enjoy your Palm Sunday? I did, though I didn't go to church. I thought about it, but I've realized, reading this book, that part of the value of my morning rituals -- the coffee and reading, the meditation and blogging -- lies in the silence of those activities. Taking a break on Sundays to go to the 8 am service isn't really taking a break from silence, because that service is very meditative, and flows beautifully out of the silence I leave behind when I walk through those tall doors.
But Palm Sunday... well, Palm Sunday is all about celebration. I knew the later service would be crowded and noisy, and found myself worrying that that kind of energy would spill over into the early service. Realizing I was already deep into the thoughtful silence of Holy Week, I just elected not to step out of it. Staying home, though it wasn't completely quiet, and we got a lot of work done, was nonetheless a peaceful time, a time to share and reconnect. I thought of palm leaves and processions, of Palm Sundays past, including a particularly memorable one in Venice, and sat instead in my meditation chair, and breathed.
The blessings in the choices we made were many: spaces that have been cluttered for months -- including my living room -- are now clear, and books and memories that have been buried for years had a chance to resurface. I had no idea my home was so full of sacred texts! The Tao, Sufi tales, Buddhist inspirations, books by Rumi, Nouwen, Thomas Moore and Kathleen Morris -- I'll be fed for years on what turned up in a day.
In another month or so we'll have kids moving back in with us, with all the detritus that that brings, so I will greatly treasure the peaceful spaces we were able to create yesterday, for as long as they last. And now I'm thinking this might not be a bad rule to follow more regularly: Computer-Free Sundays come with a gift best expressed by LeClaire's husband after she'd been doing Silent Mondays for a while.
"You know," he said, "when you started this whole business I didn't like it... He turned toward me. "I just wanted to tell you...After a while, your silent days have taught me something I needed to learn."
He smiled. "Most things just aren't that important."