Contemporary Expression


Quiet Time – Living An Artful Life
January 22, 2006, 4:29 pm
Filed under: Living An Artful Life, The Art Files


Living An Artful Life
Quiet Time
By Nancy VanReece
As published by The Church Streeet Freedom Press January 19, 2006

After the holiday hustle bustle and traffic and work and parties and wrapping and eating and family and friends, now more than ever is a good time to recommit to some peace and some quiet.

One of the most productive things to do in a day’s busy schedule is to find time to do nothing. It took me a while to find the wisdom in it. But it does work. I’m not referring to time just without noise but time to hear from yourself. Call it meditation, call it prayer, call it anchoring, whatever makes you comfortable. The importance is to make the time.

For the past year I have been grabbing the first thirty minutes of my morning with a cup of coffee, paper and pen and sitting still and quite. I’ve mentioned the concept of Julia Cameron’s suggested “Morning Pages”. Find more information at: www.theartistsway.com I write freehand three pages of free association thought during my quite time to simply allow my mind to get the subliminal out. Its good to reinforce and anticipation of good things to come! I saw a bumper sticker on the way to work that read “Something Wonderful Is About To Happen”. What a great philosophy.

manage stress
quiet your mind
increase your sense of well-being
increase your sense of harmony with your social and physical surroundings
become aware of how your mental processes affect your life

Contrary to what some people think, having a quiet-mind is not being zoned out, without thoughts, or deadening your feelings. Instead, quiet-mind is observing.
An artist is doing their best work when creating truth out of observation. Your work as a creative, productive member of our society is enhanced if you become overall, a mindful person.
The University of Massachusetts Medical School has since 1995 nourished a Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society (CFM). Their studies clearly indicate the long term benefit of mindfulness in the relief of chronic pain anxiety disorders and stress reduction.
There are different ways to find this quite space. There are an enormous number of distinct sects within Buddhism. It is a philosophy that I find enhances my Christianity. I know some Jewish friends that also embrace some Buddhist philosophy.
A most excellent website to explore is “Mindfulness In Plain English” by Ven. Heneola Gunaratana.

He writes that if it is tranquility that you seek, a state in which the mind is brought to rest, focused only on one item and not allowed to wander. The meditator focuses his mind upon some items, such as prayer, a certain type of box, a chant, a candle flame, a religious image or whatever, and excludes all other thoughts and perceptions from consciousness. The result is a state of rapture which lasts until the meditator ends the session of sitting. It is beautiful, delightful meaningful and alluring, but only temporary.

If it is insight that you seek he writes a simple explanation of a form of quite time that is a lifetime journey. The meditator uses concentration as a tool by which awareness can chip away at the wall of illusion which cuts the person off from the living light of reality. It is a gradual process of ever-increasing awareness and into the inner workings of reality itself. It takes years, but one day the meditator chisels through that wall and tumbles into the presence of light. The transformation is complete. It’s called liberation, and it’s permanent.

As we continue our fresh start to what will be a very busy year. Let’s challenge each other to take the time to stop, find some peace and listen.

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