“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” —Franz Kafka.

I can only imagine the blog traffic that will come my way thanks to the title of this post. But it’s such a brilliant observation, I felt it warranted some extra exposure.

It’s not easy to be still in our 21st century world. There’s a constant barrage of information, coming at us from cell towers and internet and television and radio. There are so many demands on our time, and even though we have conveniences that ostensibly make everyday living so much easier, they all require some degree of attention which can distract us from our own thoughts.

The other day, Andi wrote about coloring, and the way performing a quiet, somewhat mindless physical activity allowed her mind to freely roam through its own fields and pastures, happening upon all sorts of lovely thoughts springing up like wildflowers along the way. I get the same reaction when I go walking. My body moves by rote, and being outdoors with the wind in my hair and warm sun on my face releases my imagination from the stranglehold of everyday life so that ideas offer themselves for “unmasking,” as Kafka says, and “roll in ecstasy” at my feet.

We pay so little attention to our innermost thoughts, pushing them away in favor of all those other demands. When we finally allow ourselves to notice them, it’s like the sloppy display of gratitude you get from your dogs when you’ve been gone too long. They jump and wriggle and yelp and roll in ecstasy at your feet.

So find some time to be still today, whatever stillness means to you. Invite your deepest thoughts to come out of hiding, and let the world offer itself to you for unmasking.

See what ecstasy you might find rolling at your feet.

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