The Virtue of Quiet Contemplation

Look at this photograph. It is of the Green Mountains in SE Queensland at sunset as seen from our room in O’Reilly’s guest house in July 2022 . It seems like yesterday.

Does it grab you? Or do you just think ‘ho hum’?

At the time I took the photograph, I was mesmerized by what I saw. My eyes were glued. For about an hour or so, I let the scene sink into my inner being. It was a moment of quiet contemplation. No other thoughts, potential or actual, could get a look in. Then, of course, the sun set.

What exactly was I contemplating quietly? Just the nature of nature really. And how it moves so slowly and inexorably, disregarding the frenetic and chaotic existence we, if unwary, are tempted to make an integral part of our lives. Most people I know, I’m afraid to say, have yielded to this temptation, and are not the better for it.

Woody Allen, wedded as he is to his New York apartment, is reputed to have quipped, ‘I am at two with nature.’ Looking at the photo above of the scene that so mesmerized me, I find myself pitying the man. Fast motion, fast living, will surely get you somewhere fast, but where exactly? Nature will move slowly, but its destination is identifiable, meaningful, and satisfying.

Forget the latest gadgets. You won’t rule them. They will rule you. Put aside an existence totally based on material concerns. Sure, you have to make a living, but why go way way beyond that, as so many people do unthinkingly? Toys for the boys, or pearls for the girls, will ultimately fail to satisfy. You should find yourself a time and a place for quiet contemplation.

And stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. Be true to yourself. Your name is not Jones, unless perhaps it is.

You don’t have to go to the Green Mountains precinct. There are many places closer to home for you. The time? You have to set aside the time for it.

Give it a try. I recommend it.