Oni: (Singing with The Eagles) ‘…You thought you would be satisfied. But you never will – Learn to be still’
Safia: (Joins in) ‘We are like sheep without a shepherd. We don’t know how to be alone. So we wander ‘round this desert. And wind up following the wrong gods home. But the flock cries out for another. And they keep answering that bell. And one more starry-eyed messiah meets a violent farewell’
Oni: ‘Learn to be still. Learn to be still.’
Safia: Now the flowers…Hey! They cut it out!
Oni: Damned radio stations these days! Clipping every song!
Safia: Been a while since I’d heard this one.
Oni: So relevant! Even today.
Safia: One of their lesser known gems, I’d say. But it always, always plucks a chord inside me.
Oni: (At it again) ‘…You thought you could find happiness. Just over that green hill. You thought you would be satisfied. But you never will – Learn to be still.’
Safia: May be we have ‘forgotten the heaven lying at our feet’. What was that thing Rumi said about stillness?
Oni: I think it was Morgan Freeman actually.
Safia: What did he say?
Oni: Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes a radiance.
Safia: And when you’re still, you listen to the silence. It has so much to say. Those were Rumi’s words.
Oni: You know the guitar really does it for this song. Electric, energy. Acoustic, solace. It’s stirring and comforting, in a strange way.
Safia: Yeah something moves inside you. But it also asks you to calm down. I’d say it’s both: music and lyrics.
Oni: And classic Henley! The smooth vocals. It’s therapeutic.
Safia: Sure is! Makes you think about yourself. Us. Our lives. The things we go after. The people we want to become. Are we really doing it right?
Oni: You’ll never know if you’re doing it right. That’s something you could only determine, with the benefit of hindsight. But I think what matters is if you’re smelling ‘the flowers in your garden’. Because they won’t ‘smell so sweet’ all along.
Safia: Hmm…The small things. Are we taking them in? Do we stop and stare? Sunrises and sunsets. Roses and Bougainvillea? Do we remember the aroma?
Oni: Yeah, but it’s kind of corny.
Safia: What is?
Oni: To tell people to go watch the sun rise or to go smell the roses.
Safia: But clichés are clichés for a reason, Oni. Allowing yourself to bask in small wonders.
Oni: I won’t deny it. They can elevate you from the morass of the daily grind. But I think ‘The Eagles’ tried to ask us something else. And it’s quite melancholic. That you can spend all your time working yourself to exhaustion, chasing accolades, burning yourself out for money, killing yourself to meet expectations. But, ‘what for?’
Safia: May be we are burning ourselves up, trying to do everything, trying to be everything, all for nothing. Because the rewards for these activities are brief. Non-existent even.
Oni: I disagree. Yes, we live in an age of confusion. Immense distraction, turmoil and turbulence. But that is no reason to not get onto the rollercoaster. Haven’t you heard it? Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a ride!’.
Safia: This search for happiness, there’s no end to it. You could be ‘another day in paradise’ and still not find it, or never have enough of it. When do you call it a day?
Oni: You don’t! That’s the point. ‘You just keep on runnin’. Keep on runnin’.’
Oni: And accept the good around you as you run.
Safia: What if there isn’t much good? What if ‘we’re like sheep without a shepherd…And one more starry-eyed messiah meets a violent farewell.’
Oni: Well, at least you still believe that good exists. You believed in the messiah. Which means there’s hope for us all.
Safia: Is there?
Oni: Of course there is. As long as there’s purpose, our lives have meaning. You’ve got to be driven by something. You’ve got to believe in the good. There’s always going to be questions.
Safia: The questions! When you ask yourself, ‘How do I get out of here? Where do I fit in?’ When we ‘don’t know how to be alone’. That’s when you’ve got to ‘Learn to be still’.
Oni: And the answers will arrive. If you decide to challenge authority or ‘wander ‘round this desert. And wind up following the wrong gods home’, it dawns on you that ‘the world is torn and shaken.’ And ‘even if your heart is breakin’. It’s waiting for you to awaken’.’ Time. It heals wounds. Understandings are found and a common ground is rebuilt. And if it doesn’t last forever, up ‘over that green hill’, you might just be happy, for a little while even.
Safia: If and only if ‘you will learn to be still’.
Oni: Oh! To take a moment. Sit back. Marvel at your life. At the hustle that turned you dizzy. At the grief that softened you. At the heartache that wisened you. At the suffering that strengthened you. Despite everything, you still grow.
Safia: So, the storm is as invaluable as the stillness?
Oni: Much to learn from them both. (Lifts up his voice) ‘And someday you will – Learn to be still. Learn to be still. You just keep on runnin’. Keep on runnin’…’
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