Inching Toward Simplicity: Pragmatics and Prose

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It’s in There


Turning your attention within can yield surprisingly powerful results. Here are some links to helpful tools for the process:


So much of our experience can be about turning outward to seek what you need. Last night I was reminded of how much turning your attention inward can yield. I got to see Martha Beck–writer, life coach, self-help guru–speak. I am not always impressed with the self-help genre. Too many clichés and “buzz words”. But I can see why this lady has such a following—she’s a Harvard-trained social scientist who opened up to things mystical in a far-from spacey way. This was after talking with many women who reported unexplainable experiences and having some of her own, followed by years of denial that these things could happen. She’s the type of impressive intellect that can summarize how quantum physics fits into our spiritual experience (or vice versa), an explanation I cannot duplicate but definitely appreciate!

I was reminded of the power of just thinking, just remembering loving experience, and the potential for much deeper meaning in every moment. Bestselling books like Beck’s Steering by Starlight really just serve as reminders, tools for dipping into that inner well.

I’m missing the book talk of a friend of mine this weekend. Abby Seixas authored Finding the Deep River Within. Like Beck, her book is the result of talking to many women and noting a common experience—among them the habit of being drained by other’s needs, forgetting the resources that reside within your own spirit.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many of these authors use an analogy to nature. With Beck, it’s the sky. With Seixas, it’s a river. I raced through a “nature walk” yesterday morning. I wanted the joy of being in the woods before starting my workday. But I had limited time, and I needed some real exercise, so it was nearly a nature jog. As my walk came to a close, I regretted that I had not been able to slow down and observe more. Still, I made mental notes of what I had glimpsed along the way—a fresh anthill, a boulder balanced on its thin edge, the ancient, green and blue patina of lichen. Beck might say these glimpses were important because somehow all of us are connected, and nature especially seems to want to teach us to appreciate and contemplate. Being in nature yields a reflection in possibility.

Things have a way of coming together, and a friend lent me a memoir by Madeleine L’Engle recently. Her well-written musings reminded me to go back to a childhood favorite, A Wrinkle in Time, a hard-to-classify, fictional sci-fi adventure that manages to carry a much deeper message, a message of inner power and peace. Quantum physics in this one, too. Wish my brain would expand to fully get that aspect.

Whatever the analogy--rivers, stars, or time wrinkles--a world of excellent writing offers many paths to greater insight. Wishing you many “inward smiles.”

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