Perception’s Voluptuous Stretch

For moderns–for us–there is something illicit, it seems, about wasted time, the empty hours of contemplation when a thought unfurls, figures of speech budding and blossoming, articulation drifting like spent petals onto the dark table we all once gathered around to talk and talk, letting time get the better of us. Just taking our time, as we say. That is, letting time take us…Gone the birthright of the uninterrupted gaze. Gone, perception’s voluptuous stretch….

~Patricia Hampl, Blue Arabesque

It feels like economy to me. Efficiency. Listening to a podcast while I wash dishes. Audio books on my run. Knocking out necessary phone calls as I drive. Answering emails over lunch. But I wonder…

I wonder if in my efficiency I am not plowing over luminous moments. If the constant noise drowns out quiet whispers of truth. If my thoughts sometimes seem so fragmented and fruitless because I have not given them empty hours in which to unfurl.

I am trying a new tack. Sometimes leaving the ipod at home when I run. Sometimes washing dishes or pulling weeds in silence. Giving myself the luxury of time…for prayer (mostly the listening kind), for thoughts (long, slow, uninterrupted). And I am reminding myself to be fully present wherever I am, and to whomever I am with. I wonder if this is not, in the end, a much better way of redeeming time.

What do you think?