And sometimes I just sits.
The aforementioned quote is popularly attributed to A.A. Milne from Winnie the Pooh, but it does accurately describe a reality that I am only too accustomed to. I also find it to be a hilarious addition to the back of anyone’s toilet door. I mean, in days gone by that was one of the few “go-to” places where people felt they could get some peace and quiet to themselves. Now, most people just scroll their phones to pass the time, numbing us to the idea that we are even sitting (or thinking).
“All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” – Blaise Pascal
I admit, I like to meditate and contemplate more than your average bear, so, naturally, I have an affinity for sitting and thinking.
Cafés are my local hunting ground for the times I want to sits and thinks. They are a great place for introspection and watching the world go by. You can be there by yourself or with someone else or a book, with each having different effects on your experience.
I prefer cafés to bars or pubs as the latter can get quite noisy, which is usually followed by the saying, “I can’t even hear myself think”, or maybe it is the alcohol that makes it difficult to think (or sit) properly haha. Although, sometimes you can get fortunate and the wine or whisky wanderin’ can shed a whole new light on things. What is it they say about drunk people and truth-telling?
Although, when I’m at the café, the sad thing is there are so many people who aren’t engaging with the world. Phones, laptops, tablets, newspapers…all rendering these people unconscious to themselves and their environment. Take a look around! The world is a miraculous place that we’ve lost the ability to see right in front of us. I mean…
“Have you ever stood and stared at it, marvelled at its beauty, its genius…Billions of people just living out their lives…oblivious.” – Agent Smith, The Matrix
People live such chaotic and busy lives now that it’s almost like they feel obligated to cram as much into their days as possible and then use mindless distractions to numb the pain and dread of their existence. The constant need to be stimulated is a problem that has exacerbated in modern times and greatly hinders our ability to sit and think.
One can learn to take time, slow down for a moment and cultivate some space for peace, tranquillity and pondering in amongst their lives. It doesn’t just have to be at cafés, you could find a spot at the beach or a public bench/seat in a park or along a walk trail. You can do this at home too, inside or out.
Your exercise this week is to try and find 15 minutes to sits and thinks (or just sits) in a place conducive for such an activity. I’ll leave you with these two quotes which highlight the importance of being able to do this.
“Boredom is the root of all evil - the despairing refusal to be oneself.” – Soren Kierkegaard
“Ignorance is the root and stem of all evil.” – Plato