Towards the Silent Heart

kitchen table philosophy


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Seasons of living

eng_253by Joseph Raffa

Our lives are a ritual of prearranged patterns. Every morning it begins anew. We rise, wash and go through our routines. Blinds are raised, windows are opened to let in fresh air. We dress according to taste – light and colourful for the summer, warm clothing for the winter.

Every season has its chores but overall, some things do not change. Breakfast, dinner, tea, washing up and shopping. Reading the daily paper if that is your preference. Monday to Friday has its own tempo. Work for many, except for the unemployed, the retired – whose time is their own – and the children.  Some are cradled in their mothers’ arms or pushed about in prams and strollers. Those old enough head for school on foot, bike, bus or car. The seasons dictate their own patterns in dress, food, entertainment and behaviour.

Sometimes the ritual is broken by sickness, accident, or an unexpected change. But whatever it is that disrupts the orderly flow of our lives, once it’s over, we return back to the patterns we are comfortable with if we can. Being human, we love the complex patterns of our lives. And we like guidelines to direct our travel.

We have our web of relationships – our home, which is the centre of our living and our refuge – family connections and a host of gadgets to make life comfortable. And that’s the way it goes, a mixture of happy and sad, until death drags us away. Rituals then, don’t mean a thing any more.

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Trapped on life’s treadmill

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Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

by Joseph Raffa

Why is it that we are not left to enjoy our lives in peace? We are continually urged to do this or that, to work harder, produce more, spend, save or invest. And of course, at election time we are told to be very careful – to consider the issues intelligently, so that we vote for the right party and thereby go on to prosperity and economic wellbeing.

Inwardly, the pressures we impose on ourselves are just as demanding. We pattern out our lives in programmes and routines that must be done, regardless of how we feel, and we subject ourselves to stern disciplinary actions so that our intentions are fulfilled, come what may.

All the time we are harried from within and without. We are urged to drive ourselves constantly onwards, either by self-imposed directives or by outside authorities, eager to shape our lives for our eventual benefit. As a consequence, our lives are carved up – a slice for this, a slice for that, with a piece going here and there till there is very little left that we can call our own.

Is it any wonder then, that we throw ourselves into whatever pleasures or amusements surround us at the moment, to grasp a little of those experiences we can hold for ourselves alone? Something that we can give ourselves to, without hindrance or restraint, without any strong demand or urgent need arising to drag us away. At these times, we can function at a natural level, regardless of whether the moments indulged in are truly beneficial or not. Just so long as we express this deep-felt need to be ourselves as we want to be, if only momentarily.

For we feel the restrictions and demands of modern living so deeply. With the incessant ‘this must be done, then that’, on and on, endlessly till it seems that our lives are carved up into many little pieces, just to feed the voracious appetites of the dragons of modern social living and personal intention.