Quick! Go sit still


‘I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one,’ said Gandhi. Great things come out of stillness. Out of the quiet and nourishing womb, comes a newborn. Out of the silent embrace of sleep, comes a fresh perspective on another day. Out of the deep cavern of the earth, roots twist in and then, like a miracle, appears all the glory of plants. The waves that whirl on the surface of the ocean are mere froth masking its vast, calm liquid depths. All things must be still before they explode into life. So must we.

Oh, alright. You get it. But it’s so hard to stop and be still (and I don’t mean sitting numbly watching Netflix). When we do try, we berate ourselves for not being in constant motion, carrying out the urgent mechanics of life – like robots. Right now, it’s a challenge for me to find time to meditate and write, two things I really want to do. I’m busy with the bulbous, boisterous task of raising three small boys. And that’s cool, that is exactly how I wanted it, it is what I’ve chosen for myself. But I know that enriching myself by meditating and writing will absolutely benefit my boys – so I keep trying to snatch slivers of time to stuff full of silence, and then full of words. I stick my neck out a bit to meditate. People in my street probably think I’m odd because I often go and hide in the car to do it when my husband gets home. I’ve done it in the loos at work, and in random hotel loos too. In coffee shops. Libraries. Supermarket car parks. The breastfeeding chair in St Stephen’s Green shopping centre (with the baby). Airport lounge. Bus stop. Dentist waiting room. I’m always scoping places out and thinking: would it be weird if I meditated here? Normally the answer is yes – but I do it anyway, because I can’t be going off to sit on the foothills of the Himalayas to do it. My life is here, not on a fantasy mountain.

I find a way to make it work. At 4.30am (I go back to sleep afterwards, come on!), when the baby naps, when the boys are watching a sneaky episode of PJ Masks, when I’ve nipped out to the supermarket. And particularly in busy times, when there is no time to meditate, I know that for me it is extra important to meditate. That is, to remove my bananas, jumping jack brain out of the melee for a short while so it can soothe itself, even just a little. I don’t see the benefits immediately, they are accumulative; it’s often days, weeks, or even months later that I piece together the puzzle and note that it was the deliberate bouts of silence that made the noise bearable. No: that made the noise beautiful.