Noise Reduction

March 4, 2018 | Rev. Julia Hamilton

“For Citizenship”
by John O’Donohue

In these times when anger
Is turned into anxiety
And someone has stolen
The horizons and the mountains,
Our small emperors on parade
Never expect our indifference
To disturb their nakedness
They keep their heads down
And their eyes gleam with reflection
From Aluminum economic ground,
The media wraps everything
In a cellophane of sound,
And the ghost surface of the virtual
Overlays the breathing earth.
The industry of distraction
Makes us forget
That we live in a universe
We have become converts
To the religion of stress
And its deity of progress.
That we may have courage
To turn aside from it all
And come to kneel down before the poor,
To discover what we must do,
How to turn anxiety
Back into anger,
How to find our way home.

When I read that John O’Donohue poem, I immediately thought to myself, “Yes, that’s it! That’s exactly what I’ve been feeling. Someone has stolen the horizons and the mountains!”

It feels like it’s been so long since I’ve been able to see something like a horizon, something more than just a few feet in front of me at any given moment. I’ve been stuck in the here and now, but not in the good Buddhist-mindfulness kind of way, more like in a reactive “Oh no, what are we dealing with now!” kind of way. It’s the kind of reactivity that makes me check the news first thing in the morning, before I even have any coffee, just to try and keep up with the trauma of the world.

I start filling my day up with sand, instead of taking time to make room for the rocks, first.

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