Sunday Morning

Yes, and I think we all know that sensation. We have more and more time-saving devices but less and less time, it seems to us. When I was a boy, the sense of luxury had to do with a lot of space, maybe having a big house or a huge car. Now I think luxury has to do with having a lot of time. The ultimate luxury now might be just a blank space in the calendar. And interestingly enough, that’s what we crave, I think, so many of us.

When I moved from New York City to rural Japan — after my year in Kyoto, I essentially moved to a two-room apartment, which is where I still live with my wife and, formerly, our two kids. We don’t have a car or a bicycle or a T.V. I can understand. It’s very simple, but it feels very luxurious. One reason is that when I wake up, it seems as if the whole day stretches in front of me like an enormous meadow, which is never a sensation I had when I was in go-go New York City. I can spend five hours at my desk. And then I can take a walk. And then I can spend one hour reading a book where, as I read, I can feel myself getting deeper and more attentive and more nuanced. It’s like a wonderful conversation.

Then I have a chance to take another walk around the neighborhood and take care of my emails and keep my bosses at bay and then go and play ping pong and then spend the evening with my wife. It seems as if the day has a thousand hours, and that’s exactly what I tend not to experience or feel when I’m — for example, today in Los Angeles — moving from place to place. I suppose it’s a trade-off. I gave up financial security, and I gave up the excitements of the big city. But I thought it was worth it in order to have two things, freedom and time. The biggest luxury I enjoy when I’m in Japan is, as soon as I arrive there, I take off my watch, and I feel I never need to put it on again. I can soon begin to tell the time by how the light is slanting off our walls at sunrise and when the darkness falls — and I suppose back to a more essential human life.

~ Pico Iyer, The Urgency of Slowing Down. An Interview with Krista Tippett (Onbeing, November, 2018)

Comments

  1. Have a happy and luxurious Sunday ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. yes, having time is a luxurious way to fully live. i love this piece

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  3. Wow…on the one hand such an existence has a certain allure, but on the other, I don’t know that I could go to that extreme. But good for him in realizing what’s essential to his well-being.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Reblogged this on Views from the Edge and commented:
    I’d never heard of Pico Iyer or his remarks about slowing down in his interview with Krista Tippett, and I’ve only traveled to Kyoto while listening to Dave Brubeck. But I like how Pico thinks.

    The last line of David Kerrigan’s excerpt from Pico Iyer’s interview with Krista Tippett — “I can soon begin to tell the time by how the light is slanting off our walls at sunrise and when the darkness falls” — explains what happens in the cabin next to the wetland. I become more essentially human in the midst of real time.

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    • Thanks for sharing Gordon. This passage from the same interview struck me as well esp ” take conscious measures to step into the stillness and silence and be reminded of how it washes us clean, really”….

      I got in my car, and I drove north along the coast following the sea. The road got narrower and narrower, and then I came to an even narrower, barely paved road that snaked up for two miles to the top of a mountain. I got out of my car at this monastery, and the air was pulsing. It was very silent, but really the silence wasn’t the absence of noise. It was almost the presence of these transparent walls that I think the monks had worked very, very hard to make available to us in the world. I stepped into the little room where I was going to stay, and it was simple. There was a bed and a long desk, and above the desk a long picture window, and outside it a walled garden with a chair, and beyond that just this great blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Somehow, almost immediately, it was as if a huge heaviness fell away from me, and the lens cap came off my eyes. Suddenly, I was seeing everything with great immediacy, and it was almost as if little Pico had disappeared, and the whole world had come in to me instead. I remember a blue jay suddenly alighted on the fence outside my window, and I watched it, rapt, as if it was the most miraculous thing that had happened. Then bells began ringing above, and it felt like they were ringing inside me. Then when darkness fell, I just walked along the monastery road under the stars, watching the taillights of cars disappear around the headlands to the south. And really, almost instantaneously, I felt I’ve stepped into a richer, deeper life, a real life that I had half-forgotten had existed…It reminded me why sometimes people like me have to take conscious measures to step into the stillness and silence and be reminded of how it washes us clean, really.

      ~ Pico Iyer, The Urgency of Slowing Down. An Interview with Krista Tippett (Onbeing, November, 2018)

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Good Morning, David. You’ve done it again with this post. As you can see, I re-blogged it moments ago on Views from the Edge. Do you have a copy of “Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness” dedicated to Japanese theologian Kosuke Koyama? Ko and Pico would have been great friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “The whole day stretches before me like an enormous meadow…” Perfect!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    “The Urgency of Slowing Down” … Pico Iyer.
    Has anyone realized that there should be a tendency to slow down? I surely have … my soul craves it!!

    Like

  8. Just listened on NPR and no wget to read copy. Re-inforced and important. Thank you for such thought provoking news.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you, David, for once again introducing me to another worthy author. I shall definitely be adding him to my list.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ‘as if the whole day stretches in front of me like an enormous meadow’ – I have carried this phrase all day. what a great interview!

    I love imagining who is listening to such wisdom in words… especially friends who live and learn

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks, David, for an engaging and “absorbing” post. I really enjoyed the Pico Iyer interview with Krista Tippet and felt that his quote on the word absorption perfectly describes your post yesterday morning. Most mornings, for that matter, I just get absorbed by the subject of your daily post. Have a great week!

    Liked by 2 people

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