Like The Evening in The Seashore When the Water is Silent

In Jenny’s Yin class last week she read a poem by  Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) from a collection he called Stray Birds 1916.

It resonated deeply during practice and has occupied my thoughts since. I must admit, I hesitate to share here because this morning in class, after I shared this poem and my accompanying thoughts, one student expressed her interpretation and feelings of annoyance; but alas I will persist.

Let my doing nothing when I have nothing to do become untroubled in its depth of peace like the evening in the seashore when the water is silent.

-Poem 208 from Stray Birds

Tagore’s words are a deep reminder of the need for Self – Care. He gives encouragement to feel at ease/ untroubled and even in bliss (as we would strolling a still evening ocean) when we are ‘doing nothing’.

In truth, we are never doing ‘nothing’; rather we might categorize self-care such as sitting in contemplative thought, taking a bath, or reading as ‘nothing’ but in fact it is something and a very important something.

The idea that we personally attribute higher value to reducing our ‘To- Do’ lists & being ‘productive’ than to much needed ‘Nothing’ is interesting when in nature there is no higher value attributed than the magic of the ocean doing ‘Nothing’.

I encourage you to sit, as I have, with these words, to play with what you label ‘nothing’, to explore the value you attribute to that action and then to close your eyes and sit in the experience evoked by these beautiful words “….depth of peace like the evening in the seashore when the water is silent.”

Happy New Year, Shana Tova!