We are learning to be more observant especially in an age where there is threat of terrorist attacks. We are told, “If you see something, say something; report suspicious behavior in order to keep a place safe.”
I was recently on a teaching mission. One of the sessions, led by a good friend on people in crisis, used the old adage regarding crossing the street as a counseling approach with people in a vulnerable state; Stop, Look, Listen. The more I heard this, the more I thought about how this is a good word for how we should live life.
We are a busy, at some times frantic, culture. The pace can be stifling to real and authentic experiences. We move too fast and rush too quickly to the next thing. We have a 30,000-foot, traveling-close-to-the-speed-of-sound view of the world. We need to STOP; that is, hit the pause button and learn to be in the moment.
Another word comes to mind; savor. Savor is defined in the dictionary as: the quality that makes something interesting or enjoyable; something you enjoy to the fullest. Savor carries a connotation of doing something slowly. The word is often applied to eating, but you can savor any pleasurable experience of life. Are you savoring life’s moments or scarfing down life and moving on to the next thing?
We need to take time to observe all that is around us, to see further and deeper into all that life is. It more than just a visual experience, but I am glad to start there. I drive by things all the time and do not notice. A prime example is seeing a new building on my commute and never noticing the construction and proclaiming, “When did that go up there?“
I often go and “see” a movie, but the experience has to do with all I am. In seeing a movie there is touch, taste (if you get the popcorn), smell, hearing, and seeing. So when we look we need to reflect on what we see. This leads to a more thoughtful art to observation. A camera may record and keep a visual record and is a level of observation. However, to observe something fully is more than just seeing, it is perceiving; paying attention to and using multiple senses to discern. Do we really see life as it happens? If our pace is too quick, if we do not take time to process, we will miss everyday treasures of the world around us.
I am a lover of all kinds of music. I especially like listening intently on every aspect of a production. Having written and produced some music, I became keenly aware of every nuance of sound laid down in various tracks of the recording. I often ask, “Is that track necessary to the whole? What does that part add to this piece?”
The art of listening means also removing the static from our hearing; the sounds that distract or take away from what we hear or even keep us from hearing at all. To hear something is to attend to it; to process the sound and interpret the meaning. Static could be compared to listening to a foreign language we do not understand; it is not helpful or beneficial. To listen is to truly comprehend and understand.
Canterbury exists as a place where folks can Stop, Look and Listen. It is a safe place of retreat. It is a sacred space of Holy Silence. In the landscape of this world we need acreage where we escape the furious and hectic meter of the 21st century and call for a truce of all the things that compete or war for my attention. In a partisan world Canterbury is Switzerland, a neutral place of peace and safety. Cross the border, enter the campus, and we will give you refuge. We will stamp your passport, giving you a visa to a land of rest!
We invite you to connect with us and look forward to serving you!