A Lotus Grows in Brooklyn


Letting Be
December 9, 2009, 2:47 pm
Filed under: Books, Buddhism, Photography, Quotes | Tags: , , , , ,

Reading Wherever You Go, There You Are this morning on the train, I came across the following passage from Walden, which made me realize that while I own several copies of Thoreau’s classic work, I’ve never actually read the whole thing. This will be remedied tout de suite.

This passage was used by Jon Kabat-Zinn to demonstrate what everyday meditation can be like—being truly enveloped by and aware of the world around us. Sounds heavenly. (But is not, of course! Is available to any of us on this Earth who will sit still and be at peace.)

“There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hands. I love a broad margin to my life.Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sing around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveller’s wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time.

“I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance. I realized what the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of works. For the most part, I minded not how the hours went. The day advanced as if to light some work of mine; it was morning, and lo, now it is evening, and nothing memorable is accomplished.

“Instead of singing like the birds, I silently smiled at my incessant good fortune. As the sparrow had its trill, sitting on the hickory before my door, so had I my chuckle or suppressed warble which he might hear out of my nest. My days were not days of the week, bearing the stamp of any heathen deity, nor were they minced into hours and fretted by the ticking of a clock; for I lived like the Puri Indians,of whom it is said that ‘for yesterday, today, and tomorrow they have only one word, and they express the variety of meaning by pointing backward for yesterday forward for tomorrow, and overhead for the passing day.’

“This was sheer idleness to my fellow-townsmen, no doubt; but if the birds and flowers had tried me by their standard, I should not have been found wanting. A man must find his occasions in himself, it is true. The natural day is very calm, and will hardly reprove his indolence.”

—Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Photo of Walden Pond quatro.sinko on Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Now you got me going. Will put “Walden’s Pond” on my list of gifts to give myself for my reading reflections in the New Year.

Thanks, Lotus.

michael j

Conshohocken, PA USA

Comment by contoveros

Thanks for looking at the site, Michael! And I know how you feel. Walden has just skipped to the top of my list of books to read next!

Comment by Carrie M




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