Runaway train

“The world is too much with us.”

That quote crossed my mind yesterday out of nowhere and started a whole train of thought.

The engine: Ain’t that the truth. So much of our amazing brainpower, our thoughts, our very lives is consumed by the incessant chatter of life in this world. Driven by a constant stream of consciousness aboout what you did, didn’t do, should do, might do, need to do, hate to do, can’t do, won’t do, forgot to do, what, when, where, why, how, on and on. (The world is absolutely too much with us.)

A hopper: How do I turn it off? Imagine how lovely it would be to dump that load you’re carrying and just BE for a while. Relax and enjoy the summer sunshine. Contemplate the clouds. Drink a glass of lemonade. Watch a bee. (And all without thinking — oh look at those weeds and that branch needs trimmed and that bare spot needs more grass seed and there’s that shrub to plant and I need to pick off those Japanese beetles like the gardening blog said and it’s time for more fertilizer and the petunias need deadheading and…)

I know, that’s the whole point of meditation. But who has time for that? (The world is too much with us.)

A boxcar: Whoa, where’d that come from? Literally. What is that, Shakespeare? (I’m sad to say I had to look it up and discovered it’s Wordsworth.) It’s amazing how many little quotes and sayings and snippets we carry around with us. (Mostly hidden because the world is too much with us to think or contemplate profound thoughts very often.)

A passenger car: Remember how summer used to be? Three whole months of freedom and you along for the ride. Sleep in, stay up late, chase lightning bugs, read books, drink Kool-Aid (preferably orange), play with friends, get bored doing nothing — all the things you wish you could do now. All the things we really need to do to stay sane, but can’t. (The world is too much with us.)

The caboose: Can I make it less? Can I mute the inner noise and go outside for a while? Can I leave my desk and enjoy this gorgeous day? Or will I only keep worrying about the e-mails I’m missing, the chores I should be doing, the calls I should be making, the bills I should be earning money to pay, the desk that needs clearing…the world that is too much with me?

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
                   ~ William Wordsworth (c.1802)

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