The Still Point

Someone once asked how I come up with these thoughts. Some are derived from reading or listening to teachers. Some from news or observations. And then I think about the idea and try to relate it to a deeper teaching.

Focus is the  hard part. Last week I traveled three days beginning with a 6 am flight which meant rising at 3:45 in order to shower, pack my laptop bag (aka briefcase in the old days) and drive to the airport. On that trip I arrived at the destination, met my colleagues, made some sales calls, had a business discussion over a long dinner, and then get to my room after 10 pm. Up early for meetings, driving around, another business dinner.

It’s about the same this week. Now, it’s four days in Houston rather than three in Philadelphia.

I’m not looking for sympathy. I chose to do these trips. When I’m home, I have a normal routine which includes 15-30 minutes of quiet time to read and contemplate. Sometimes on business trips, I don’t carve out the time. It is a failure of focus.

This morning I decided to carve out some quiet time. When I do that, my body slows down, my thinking slows down, and I can focus on a topic. It’s all about focus and attention.

T.S. Eliot, a quite misunderstood poet, wrote in Burnt Norton (one of the Four Quartets) about the still point–at the still point of the turning earth, there is the dance, and there is only the dance. Eliot was a contemplative and understood the value of slowing down, focusing, achieving that still point.

Today, I switched my focus to, well, focus itself. I became close to the still point. The day will go much better because of that.

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