Saturday, March 03, 2007

Snow din, Snowed In and some Lenten "Blues"

Here in the Upper Midwest we have a phenomenon which happens each time a major winter storm approaches. A barrage of media warns us of the impending apocalypse. Radio, TV, the Internet all unite in a common chorus: warning! major storm coming! batten down the hatches! fire up the snow blower! the leaden grey skies are falling!

I call this barrage the "snow din" because it becomes like background noise after the second or third time. Perhaps you respond ot it, especially if you have a long work commute ahead or the kids will be staying home. But, even then, you realize that there is a certain echo chamber effect because the media just has to get your attention. Yawn.... so it's going to snow again. so what?

Our thought life works like that too, sometimes. When I just manage to get myself quiet enough to do some meditating a stray thought comes along to distract me. If I acknowledge it and dismiss it sometimes it just goes away. But more often it brings back two or three friends in a chorus to try and gain my attention.

"But what about X......?"

"Shouldn't I be concerned about Y....?"

"I'll bet Z.........."

Like a rising chorus the stray thoughts gang up until they gain an hearing. But if I'm attentive to their game plan and can realize that this is just the way things work, I can safely dismiss, ignore and get back to my practice.

Much like the media, we get wise to the game and refuse to be suckered in and distracted by it.

These past 3 days of the snowstorm I've had lots of time to think about these things, especially in light of my work around guarding the thoughts, courtesy of Meg Funk. See my earlier post on "Thoughts Do Matter."
But last evening at dusk, at the end of my Evening Prayer, I received a grace moment. It was not strictly related to the guarding of thoughts, but it brought about a similar peaceful quiet in the soul.

I was sitting in my living room/ chapel praying and I looked out the window at precisely the correct time to see a still, blue world. Nothing was moving, nothing stood out. All was overcast in the deep blue haze one can only get when surrounded by massive amounts of snow and a paucity of natural light. You can see little glimmers of this by looking in the shadows of snow banks during the afternoon. But this was a whole scene..... amazing..... it took my breath away. Instead of the evening being a depressing time as sometimes happens, this was a "blues" moment to be cherished.

No comments: