“Sowing the seed,
my hand is one with the earth.
Wanting the seed to grow,
my mind is one with the light.
Hoeing the crop,
my hands are one with the rain.
Having cared for the plants,
my mind is one with the air.
Hungry and trusting,
my mind is one with the earth.
Eating the fruit,
my body is one with the earth.”
-- Wendell Berry
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Have you experienced serenity lately? I realize this question might sound absurd to anyone who is immersed in stressful work and/or who has little free time to enjoy.
Some of you who have been on vacation, or perhaps were on one of our recent camping trips, may have tasted moments of serenity. Or perhaps you were fortunate to actually feel calm and serene for many hours on end… or even longer.
Yes, serenity does seem incompatible with the way so many of us lead our lives. Hectic schedules don’t easily lend themselves to experiences of serenity.
And yet… some of the best times of our lives are often accompanied by feelings of total contentment in the present moment, when time may even seem to temporarily stand still. Do you know what I mean? Have you had such an experience lately?
If not, it may be a good time (and season) to try to cut back on work and other responsibilities, if possible, to clear away some space and time to simply “be.”
Close companions of serenity are likely to be other satisfying and fulfilling feelings, like peaceful relaxation, for example… or bliss… or happiness.
Picture sinking into a deep “pool” of relaxation, with your mind relatively free of stressful or troubling thoughts, yet all of your senses wide awake and tingling with aliveness -- and feeling truly grateful to be here on this beautiful planet.
Virtually all of us know how easy it is to get caught up in everyday dramas, or working too many hours. It’s far from easy to free ourselves from such traps.
Getting out into nature, of course, whether hiking or engaging in other outdoor recreation, or “forest bathing,” or simply being in nature, can help get us there.
-- Charlie Cook