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Ceiling Fans

I sat there quietly in the Friends meeting with my eyes closed trying not to think and just meditate, breathe, center. Focus on being quiet and let my mind relax and forget the worries of the day. And certainly, not think negative thoughts.

It was not working.

I thought of family and work concerns and then would open my eyes, look at the back of the chair in front of me, close my eyes, and start again. Breathe. Repeat the mantra I learned in 1975. Count to 10 as I learned in Zen Buddhism. Anything to force my mind to relax, but it was not working.

And then a voice from behind broke into my thoughts. A young woman stood up and said that the sound of the ceiling fan reminded her of a heartbeat, and she was describing the impact that had on her and her illness. I did not listen to everything she said because my thought was, what ceiling fan? And what sound?

I opened my eyes, looked up, and saw the rotating fan, but I heard nothing. So, I closed my eyes, pushed out the negative thoughts and worries and thought only good and loving and happy thoughts, and then, I heard it. The soft whirring as the fan slowly rotated.

They say that we can be someplace, but not really present. That is, if our minds are focused on other thoughts, we can miss everything going on around us, no matter how beautiful or how much fun. Those preoccupations and negative thoughts push out the present and we miss the moment. We miss out on life.

I thought about this today when I stopped at a store to get something and as I pushed on the door, it did not open. I realized it was closed because it was Monday. This happens, but it happens more often now because it is so easy to forget the day. To be preoccupied by the news which continues to bombard us with all the bad things that are happening or could happen or will happen. I am not Pollyanna, but the idea of choosing happiness makes some sense. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens as the song says.

Someone once told me that the saying, “you only live once”, is wrong. You die once, but you live every day. Maybe we all need to stop, close our eyes, push out all those negative thoughts and pull in some happiness. Listen to what is around us, especially when it is the heartbeat of a ceiling fan.

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