We had a blackout last night, which isn't uncommon in the summer months in Los Angeles. On one level, it was extremely inconvenient. I hoped to utilize the late evening hours to upload a new children's book to my publisher via internet. That would become impossible.
However, on another level, our blackout was fantastic. When the power went out, not only did the lights in my neighborhood roll into blackness, but it became so quiet so suddenly, as though our little world was deep in an epiphany. In that moment, I became aware of how much noise I have become used to. The churning, whirring, never ending buzz of electrical machinery is the uncredited soundtrack to our lives. When it stopped, it became as quiet as midnight in the desert. Probably it was more quiet, because we, for better or worse, do not have as much wildlife.
And on another, even deeper level, it was stimulating spiritually because there was nothing to do. There were no computers (the batteries gone), no television, no music, not enough light to read by. After pacing the house once or twice and checking to be sure the ice cream was melting (it was), I managed to sit down in a chair and do absolutely nothing. I haven't done that in a long time. I sat there in the dark silence, just enjoying breathing in and breathing out. It was so dark that I couldn't even see myself, and so I could only feel my existence, a great spiritual practice. For that moment of quiet stillness, I was back in India, just outside of Rishikesh, sitting on a rock looking at a tremendous river, and enjoying the beingness of life with every particle of my being. No matter the location, it is the same enjoyment of peace that comes with a dose, whether voluntary or involuntary, of nothing-to-do-ness.
It was a great reminder that peace and happiness do not come from things, business, or any kind of doing, but rather of undoing, and even more likely, just being.
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