“No moment is trivial since each one contains a divine kingdom and heavenly sustenance.”
Jean Pierre de Caussade, The Sacrament of the Present Moment, p. 79
Pas pause for paws but, to be fair, so do Grandpas and Grandmas and Mas. What is not always clear, however, is how “paused” paused really is. If a person walks their dog, and along the way finds their mind constantly on other matters, have they really paused for their dogs? Taken time out? Or are they just carrying the leash and swinging clean up?
Taking time to really stop thinking and to just “be”, to just be in the “present moment” as De Caussade advocates, is infinitely refreshing. Whether emptying one’s mind in the early morning for a few minutes and just breathing in and out; recollecting ourselves after sleep; stopping to explore too when your dogs, like Tinkerbell and Shelby here, stop to explore; the act of pausing regularly and dropping all “What’s going to happen?” and “What happened?” thoughts from the cognitive-go-round makes all the other times, with more and more “pause-time”, as Gunilla Norris writes, better:
“When we learn to [pause] many times a day–
before getting out of bed, before meals,
before leaving for work,
before turning on a light or shutting it–
the pauses add up.
We are expressing a little pressure of the will.
Over time the habit of recollection leads us
back to the center,
to stillness and listening.
There we can find a new center from which to live.”
~Gunilla Norris, Inviting Silence, pp. 18-19)
Sources for thinking about pausing and being are both centuries-old and as contemporary as Thich Nhat Hanh, who writes “Anyone who maintains awareness in the present moment becomes beautiful and naturally emanates peace, joy, and happiness” (Present Moment, Wonderful Moment, 1990, p. 7).
There are so many ways to pause – on a walk, for 30 seconds waiting in the grocery line, or just closing one’s eyes and breathing slowly for a few seconds while working on a document.
Taking a bit of time to turn attention to something refreshing or renewing is still another. The Pause, for example, is The On Being Project‘s weekly newsletter. The name of the newsletter is perfect, and the contents are worth taking a little time over a cup of coffee to read and to reflect upon between the tasks of the day.
Pause for Pas and Grandmas and paws and…well…just because.
Caussade, J. P. d. (1982). The sacrament of the present moment. San Francisco, Harper & Row.
Nhất, N. H., (1990). Present moment, wonderful moment: mindfulness verses for daily living. Berkeley, Calif., Parallax Press.
Norris, G. B. (2004). Inviting silence: universal principles of meditation. New York, NY, BlueBridge.