Pico Iyer wrote an article in the New York Times recently called, The Joy of Quiet. In it he says, “Two journalist friends of mine observe an “Internet sabbath” every week, turning off their online connections from Friday night to Monday morning, so as to try to revive those ancient customs known as family meals and conversation.”
I have much to say on quiet and rest, and yet despite the fact that I’ve written about it about twenty-five times on this blog, I struggle with it.
I say I give up computers and the internet for twenty-four hours, and yet I regularly snatch my wife’s iPhone to check my Twitter account. I sometimes become so tempted by my silver MacBook I make some excuse—to check something on Wikipedia, for example—just so I can touch it. Or else I stare at the ceiling and dream of my email inbox, wondering what magical messages wait for me.
Pico says, “Thomas Merton struck a chord with millions, by not just noting that ‘Man was made for the highest activity, which is, in fact, his rest,’ but by also acting on it, and stepping out of the rat race and into a Cistercian cloister.”
I am nothing if not a rat, snickering through a balsa-maze looking for gouda. When will I learn I already have it? It follows me everywhere. Why don’t I just say, Yes?
He says, “More than that, empathy, as well as deep thought, depends (as neuroscientists like Antonio Damasio have found) on neural processes that are ‘inherently slow.'” My writing, my very life, depends on stopping.
Yes, Pico, thank you for reminding me. I will stop. Yes, I will eat and drink and enjoy today. I will enjoy. I will.