Continuing on the point of needing pray and meditation on a daily basis, Thurman make a case for being “quiet without and still within”. He explains that what a person (he used the collective term “man”) does is an expression of his intent; a person’s intent is the focusing of their desiring; and a person’s desires are the prayers of their heart. It seems he may carry some assumption that a person’s desires are well intentioned and become earnest prayers for improvement of one’s character or situation.
Aside from that stretch of assumption, he poses that no one would argue for the necessity of taking time out for being alone, “for withdrawal, for being quiet”, both as seen on the exterior and experienced on the interior. But, in our fast-paced and ever competitive world, being still often feels foreign and contradictory to a preference for overworking, overthinking, and over-reacting. Indeed what would the world be like if we would each find a short period to settle down for quiet time each day?
To create a balance in our lives it would be helpful to start by finding a balance to our day. Most of us have the “effort” part in effect: we go to school or work, we worry or strategize, we get involved with activities, etc. But, to balance that we need to insert times of repose, rest and reflection. Parker Palmer expresses this as two poles within our personality. “I want to learn how to hold the paradoxical poles of my identity together, to embrace the profoundly opposite truths that my sense of self is deeply dependent on others dancing with me and that I still have a sense of self when no one wants to dance.”
― Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life
Here is a fascinating video of amazing stillness within effort. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6rX1AEi57c#t=18