Saturday, January 7, 2012

Peace and Quiet In Life’s Thunderstorms

“Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune and misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.”

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Making a study of the features of time might seem numbing to the younger player, but there is something tantalising in the truths bestowed within the characterisation of time; that is, to imagine our emotional lives, more or less, at the steady state resembling time.

Some people naturally resemble such clocks. Their emotional ambience flickers little; they are not easily swayed, upset, or even buoyant. They just keep living, one ticking moment following the previous one, and so on. These have little redress for regret, for they seem to manage the tremulous minute the same as they ever do—there is a pleasant casualness about them that we tend to admire. They seem resilient and stoic.

Could it be that their minds function quietly? Are their hearts, underpinning, also more present to self-acceptance?

Quietening The Mind

We all seem to understand the theory—that a quietened mind is preferable and critical for control—but we struggle with the practicality of instituting same.

This is because we understand, implicitly, how the mind should operate but we have little understanding on gaining control over it.

Could it be that there are levels of psychological functioning and coping well below the thought processes? We need to conceive that the feeling heart underlies the thinking mind. Only when we venture into steadying the heart, in seeking to understand and accept ourselves, will we be granted opportunities to sustainability quieten the mind.

The Value Of Steadiness Of Heart

Much deeper below the thinking process is the heart silently informing thought, especially stressed thought. When the going gets tough, not only do the tough get going, but the heart becomes more fully engaged. At non-stressful times we couldn’t care less.

The more fully employed heart, coming in to the allegiance of both eustress and distress, is either ally or enemy. We, of course, are interested in enhancing the former and dispelling the latter.

The tumultuous seconds must be managed, not in a way where the mind is busied by the chaos of the instant, but in such a way as to busy the mind only with logic and reason enough to get through. That, there, is victorious kingdom living and it is retrieved moment-by-steady-moment.

Heart And Mind Combined

The state of the imagination, now, is sent to crisis:

Heart and mind will work in unison to produce the seedbed of the calm reality, but the default is to panic, where, again, heart and mind work together, but against us.

This level of inner collusion will produce avoidant or risky decision-making, and particularly procrastination, because of a lack of courage or the winning of fear, where what we really need in a crisis is a steady heart producing a quietened mind.

It is important to understand we have two allies in the heart and mind and that they work together to achieve, for us, peace. If we feel in steadiness, despite our fears, sticking with logical and reasoned thinking, we treat the heart and mind as allies and they work industriously for our defence.


We are to aim to live, emotionally, from within ourselves, as clocks—ever turning clockwise at the same cadence, neither running ahead of time nor behind. That requires thinking soundly, feeling in steadiness, and, with mind and heart aligned, it achieves for us quietness of mind—even in the midst of life’s thunderstorm.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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