It’s 8:30 Sunday morning in Pompano Beach, where I spend winters now. Clocks across the country moved ahead an hour, but my mind tells me it’s really only 7:30, insofar as that makes any difference. I don’t feel cheated in any way, because I’m sitting in my favorite spot on the planet, my terrace overlooking a small lake and golf course, where sunlight is splashing across the mirror surface of the water, the green of the lawns with many old Banyan trees and palms. The only sounds are those of the many songbirds and an occasional airplane on its way to some polar region.
It’s important to have a special place where you can find a sense of peace, a place where you can regenerate your spirit, even if that “place” is only a little nook in the mind, a niche bringing the memory of a quiet corner at Grandma’s house, a seat on a log in a well-loved forest retreat, or a book in which to escape for a while the world’s intrusive hustle and bustle.
Buddhists and yogi are good at creating through meditation that sense of tranquility that renews a feeling of wellbeing. I’m not so spiritually accomplished. In the middle of a traffic jam, I’m a puddle of impatience and conflict. I need the harmony and repose of an actual, physical place, where serenity is around me, usually from nature, as on a quiet beach where I’m listening to the steady pulse of waves breaking on the shore. Here is a photo of the terrace view I have over my coffee every morning.
It is here I gather amity and concord to get me through whatever I may have to face during the rest of the day. In these terms, it becomes easier to understand the purpose and power of prayer, or at least some kind of healing connection to something greater than the self alone. It may be similar to that glowing sense of communion we experience from the beauty of an exceptional piece of art, or the wordless power of a sunset.
Whatever it is, we all need it in one form or another, as a material place, or some kind of imagined or remembered environment tucked away safely in the heart and mind. Either way, it can be a place we go in order to find quiescence and strength again in an agitated and noisy world. JB