Monday, 7 May 2012

The bloom of the present moment

With thanks to Vale, over on the Good Funeral Guide,

for reminding me of something crucial about Henry David Thoreau. 

Here's something he wrote in "Walden:"

"I did not read books the first summer; I hoed beans. Nay, I often did better than this. 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. "

Or indeed, what we mean by mindfulness meditation.

"The bloom of the present moment." "I grew in those seasons like the corn in the night."

It's all there.


  1. Yes, it is. Dead stopped - a very neat trick. How do you learn it?

  2. Hello Charles. It's late-ish so maybe that's why I don't quite understand your question. Learn what neat trick? Enlighten me please, and I'll grope around in the old brainbox for something of an answer!

  3. Emptying your mind to the extent that you lose all sense of the passage of time.

  4. Thanks for your clarification Charles, shouldn't really have been mind emptying itself at the wrong time!

    Erm, the answer, well, my answer, is - of course - mindfulness meditation. Or - total absorption in a task, which is paradoxical, since that's total focus, narrow-beam stuff, the other end of the brain from mindfulness - or it it?? H'mm Or- the Flow - like when a piece of writing is going really well.

    (Goes off into confused state and pretends it's meditative wisdom....)

  5. No, you're right, GM, mindfulness meditation is the way. It's a, for me, useful reminder of its value. Thanks!