Painting by James Barry, King Lear Weeping over the Dead Body of Cordelia. 1786–8, Tate Gallery.
When Shakespeare’s King Lear utters those words in reaction to his daughter’s refusal to proclaim sycophantic love he sets in motion a causal sequence leading to a greater understanding of himself, of love, of life. When I look up on a clear night and observe the stars and perceive the incredible beauty of our existence I’m seldom left without a feeling of awe. Awe at this existence of ours, our self-awareness, our being. Too often in our work life we’re so focused on the task at hand more so than the wider picture; the context, the reason, is forgotten. What are we trying to achieve? What does success look like? What lateral avenues are available to us? How can we “win”? The role of self-reflection, of introspection, of pure thought is oft resigned to the backwaters of the consciousness and yet it’s in this space that we develop Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s form of flow. Unconscious immersion, that loss of time and space, of pure creation. Creation of our future state, of execution, of “winning”, of our future selves, of a greater understanding.
Taking time “out” to reflect is one of the most valuable traits that we can learn. To take time off to consider, to think, to muse, to imagine, to build new structures in our mind.
The Three Oddest Words
When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to the past.
When I pronounce the word Silence,
I destroy it.
When I pronounce the word Nothing,
I make something no nonbeing can hold.
What can you learn from a Nobel laureate? What can we learn from anything, from anyone? Only what we allow to seep into our minds, to take root, to commence the branching of structures that will create a different you.
Take time out to think and to consider. Stop reacting. Realise that something does come from nothing: from nothing we exist and yet nothing isn’t nothing, nothing is the start of everything.
And in silence we begin, we can learn to know ourselves, we understand, we glean, we learn to think. In Pinter’s plays you learn more in the silence, sometimes, than in the dialogue:
The speech we hear is an indication of that which we don’t hear.
This could (should) be a far, far longer article. I’ve touched on perception, reality, flow and many other concepts. Originally I penned this post several months back and became far, far too busy with work to complete it. I need to observe my own recommendations: something will come of something 🙂
To be continued (completed?). In a fashion.