I never really believed in the power of naps – quite frankly, I considered them a waste of precious time that could be put to use productively. It pained me to think of wasting thirty minutes on pure lazing around: there was simply too much to do to take a break just for the sake of taking a break.
But lately I’ve been taking a lot of naps.
I’d set the timer to twenty minutes, start my ‘serenity and bliss‘ playlist playing (schubert and debussy dominate), and snuggle tight with my pillow under the safe haven of my covers.
And then I’d drift.
It’s a delicious thing – drifting in and out of consciousness in a transient state of tranquility. Thoughts float off and wander back in an inexplicable cloud of mellow emotions and feelings – all at once elucidating an illuminated state of everything, and concealing an inky abyss of nothingness. Little snippets of economic theory on perfect competition float above your head, differential equations scream at the top of their lungs, and checklists of things to do try to force open your eyes. But it’s too late – the profound, and yet completely simple drowsiness has set in. A sense of restfulness and peace seemingly expands from the center of your body, and gently pushes out all the worry, all the stress, and all the material thought. The state of being half awake; drowsily noting the soft notes of jazz playing in the background, the humming whirl of the fan above, the smell of newly washed covers… It’s pure bliss. Seemingly devoid of thought, but brimming with quiet contemplation.
And then the alarm goes cockatoodletoo and it’s time to get back to work.
We live in a very fast-paced world. A perilous one overcrowded with numerous to-do lists (I’m sure you can sympathize – I have one on my iPhone, one on my laptop dashboard, another on my screensaver, and numerous work schedules scattered in notebooks all over my desk), that leaves you no choice but to keep on struggling, keep on going, and keep on working. There is never any free time – you just have to make time. It’s a perpetual struggle, yes, but I try to avoid letting it become one devoid of laughter, joy, and moments of bliss.
Sometimes we just have to learn how to let go, stop worrying, and take a short break.
We’ve forgotten how to relax. We’ve forgotten how to enjoy those moments of doing nothing. Everything we do has to be significant – for school, for work, for furthering our dreams, goals, and aspirations, for pursuing passion, for being busy – don’t get me wrong, I love being busy – but sometimes we forget to appreciate the merit of peace. And silence.
The greatest fulfillment doesn’t lie in external things – tests, grades, other achievements… They’re momentary.
They’re important, but they’re ephemeral satisfactions. They’re stepping stones that lead you up a never-ending spiral. They leave you wanting more, aching for something better, and never truly satisfied. And it’s not a bad thing – we need a sense of progress in life, but we have to realize that life will always be an eternal struggle for something better. We can live our lives perpetually chasing after those dreams without respite, without rising to the surface to breathe – but then we’d never truly be satisfied with ourselves.
And so we have to learn to appreciate the fulfillment that lies within us. The kind of fulfillment that will always be there, lying dormant and waiting for us to come into its warm embrace.
So once in a while, take a break. Take a break from the world.
Embrace the peace.
Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it. –Khaled Hosseini