So I’m looking up at this telegraph pole and hoping it stays upright in spite of gusty Doris, who’s strength pushed against me this morning as I tried to pull closed the door of my van. I battled but in the end had to get out and use all my strength to push it shut then climb in through the passenger door instead.
It’s a cliche I know but I think I learnt something about staying calm this morning, in spite of the relentless force blowing everything around outside. I know there’s a huge movement in favour of meditative practices emerging at the moment and it’s probably because the metaphorical storm is intensifying – pressure, politics, busyness. Meditation, prayer, mindfulness and so on, are not new but somehow more and more of us are becoming aware of the need to stop, think, reflect, be still, be aware. Earlier on today I was able to make myself a decent cup of coffee and sit still for twenty minutes and literally just drink that coffee. I savoured each mouthful and it tasted divine. It was like partaking in a holy act. I stared out of the window and watched the trees and telegraph wires being taken to their limits and the howling and whooshing trying to do everything it could to disturb. But as I sat, immersed in my one and only chosen ritual, I felt unruffled, calm and separate from the external forces. I remembered a story I’ve read a few times about a guy who falls asleep during a storm whilst out in a boat with his friends. His friends are panicking, thinking they are all going to die, frustrated with their friend who doesn’t seem to care and carries on sleeping. They wake him up and he reassures them that everything’s going to be ok, perhaps a little surprised that they are in such a frenzy. Then it’s as if the calm in him is so powerful that it makes the external storm cease. Wow. What if we were able to be so calm in spite of the mayhem and madness around us, that we could actually change the atmosphere of our time. What if peace is contagious.
After my coffee, I had to drive against these high winds and 50 mile an hour gusts – I could feel the van being rocked as I sat at the traffic lights. Trees and branches were down everywhere but I didn’t flinch.