Saturday, 7 May 2016

Eye of the storm

Stillness. Calm. Tranquill-ity.

So desirable yet so hard to achieve in this era of constant noise, media contro-versies, social chit-chat, cold calls, "keeping busy" and random internet blurtings.

It's so soothing and restorative to be totally still for a while, mentally vacant, stripped of all this outside communication. But the compulsion to be endlessly on the move and spilling something out has infected us all and is well nigh impossible to turn off.

Luckily Jenny and I live in a largish detached house and can shut everyone else out if we wish. We can keep the world at bay in our little private sanctuary. All those people forced to flatshare or live with relatives, but craving peace and quiet, aren't so fortunate.

There seems an unspoken assumption nowadays that we must all have opinions on everything, however trite or absurd or violent, and must voice those opinions to as many people as possible via every available outlet.

The result is a daily tsunami of raucous pontificating and ranting on every conceivable subject from fluffy kittens to surly shop assistants to anti-Jewishness. A tsunami to which I'm personally contributing of course with my own feverish outpourings. Do feel free to turn me off at any time....

Now and then I climb Slieve Donard, the tallest mountain in Northern Ireland. You'd think that there at least I could enjoy perfect peace. But no. Slieve Donard is so well-known that there are always trails of hikers trudging up and down the mountainside, cheerily saying hello and commenting on the weather.

I think to get perfect peace I'd have to clamber into a rocket and be shot into outer space. That's the only way the constant buzz of humanity could be left behind.


  1. Be still and heal.
    Thich Nhat Hanh
    Far from the roaring crowd. Breathing slowly.Don't care about what always"angry"persons are thinking of you. You know who you are.
    A nice sunny week end.
    Mia More

  2. "perfect peace" reminds me of a favourite hymn, I dont think I have ever heard the term outside of the church

  3. Mia: I don't know anything about Thich Nhat Hanh, but his Wikipedia entry is interesting. Don't worry, I don't lose any sleep over the angry brigade.

    Kylie: I've heard the term lots of times, I didn't think it was especially linked to religion.

  4. I love peace and quiet. It's nice to sit outside, but more often than not, someone starts up their lawnmower or some other noisemaker.

  5. My Zen temple of peace and tranquillity is being disturbed by the persistent roar and beep-beep of earth-moving machinery because there's a new housing estate being built behind us. Looking forward to a few days away next month in the Yorkshire Dales where peace and quiet (and a good pint) are easy to find.

  6. Bijoux: Lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, souped-up cars, schoolchildren, planes, helicopters. We've got them all. Thankfully, there's complete silence right now.

    Dave: Building sites can be horrendously noisy. Luckily there are no adjacent sites here suitable for new estates. The Yorkshire Dales should be restful - unless there's a heatwave and the hikers are out in force!

  7. "But the compulsion to be endlessly on the move and spilling something out has infected us all and is well nigh impossible to turn off."

    I'm afraid that doesn't describe me at all. I've always valued and protected my quiet time.

  8. Thich Nath Hanh is a wonderful person and my spiritual guide. He is a great example for humanity, understanding and caring for others.
    Mia More

  9. Jean: Lucky you! You seem to live in quite an isolated spot where intrusive human activity is kept to a minimum.

    Mia: That's good that you've found someone who is truly inspirational. I think the problem with spiritual gurus is to separate the genuine ones from the money-grabbing, sex-obsessed frauds.

  10. Helen Devries7 May 2016 at 20:59

    I've always been lucky enough to live in a house which affords me the room to be quiet - well, since the days of a student flat named the Flattleship Potemkin anyway.

    I rather wish people would keep their opinions on trivia to themselves and that the media could think of something better to do than to air them.

  11. Thich Nath Hanh is not at all a guru. He is a Zen Buddhist, poet ,writer preaching peace and trying to show people how to live a concious and happy life. No question of money, brain washing or whatever you may think.
    Mia More

  12. Mia: So why are you banging on about this guy? I'm sure we all have our own role models, but we don't need to proselytise.

    1. Sorry but I'm not proselytising. English is not my mother tongue so may be my proposal sounds a bit strange . I'm only explaining who this man is.
      Mia More

  13. i have many of thich nhat hanh's exquisite little books.
    one of my favorites is 'peace is every step.'
    he's a little vietnamese monk who had to go into exile.
    he's very humble. he walks the talk as they say. i love him too.

    as far as the pontificating and all... i just turn off when I've had enough.
    my main concern here is the LOUD MUSIC. EVERYWHERE. even in parks for petesake.
    grocery stores... every single restaurant... even if you sit outside they have piped it out there. and it's all so loud you can't hear yourself think. it's not going to go away anytime soon.
    so i shall just have to learn to live with it. but it has almost made me hate music. even when you stop in your car at a stoplight...
    blaring music from the car next to you and behind you... AAAGGGHH.
    i'll go away quietly now that i've pontificated on that subject.

  14. Helen: I lived briefly in a squat with around a dozen other people. The endless activity, noise and chaos drove me nuts. A couple of weeks was all I could stand before I packed my bags and left.

    I do agree about the torrent of trivia. Why the urge to tell everyone what you had for breakfast or how your umbrella fell to bits?

  15. Tammy: Oh, should I be checking this guy out? He seems to be quite charismatic.

    There's music everywhere you go in Belfast as well, though not necessarily loud or obtrusive. Jenny and I sometimes walk straight out of a restaurant if it's playing loud music, or music we don't like.

  16. Mia: Your English is fine. And I see he has another admirer among my visitors! I wasn't saying he was a fraud, I was referring to spiritual teachers in general, who aren't always what they seem.

  17. I had a weekend away last week and there was no mobile phone signal and their wifi was up the shoot.

    It was blissful. Truly wonderful.

    As much as I love my online life, getting away from it all was exactly what I needed to recharge.

    If I don't meditate now, I go slightly cray-cray.

  18. I feel truly spoiled then living way out here on the Edge with no teevee and the only news I get is on newsfeeds which I pay attention to or not as the mood strikes. I hear the lap of the water and the cry of many birds. (Is that too loud for you?)

    Talk here, when I indulge, is usually about crops and wood for the winter and the boats being in with crab or hunting. And the odd gossipy village stuff which rivets me and which I will write about soon.


  19. Rose: When I'm on holiday I never use the internet (except sometimes on Jenny's iPad) and it's very relaxing. The occasional wifi detox is essential.

    www: You live in a pretty and isolated spot as well. Birdsong and lapping water would suit me fine! I look forward to some of that village gossip....

  20. I never go online on vacation. The freedom is exhilarating! I recommend it to everyone!

  21. Bijoux: It is exhilarating, isn't it? Your brain can just wander wherever it wants, without being distracted by all the usual online temptations.

  22. Having a switch off session is the best. Sometimes I find myself screaming: Make it stop, make it stop! Thankfully this is easily done by pulling out the plug.

  23. Scarlet: The problem is that if you switch everything off, you switch off the useful and interesting stuff along with everything else. But I do try to limit my internet use as much as possible. Blogging and Facebook and reading the papers are about it.