Everything is happening faster
In these times of instant gratification, our lives reflect a hurried rushed and busy mindset. Faster seems better. We are thinking, talking and doing things faster. We eat, walk and drive fast. And how quickly do folk type messages on their phones!
Our ability to be patient, to wait and allow something to simply take its time is diminishing. Being hurried also generates stress. Whenever anything takes ‘far too long’ there is unease, frustration and disappointment.
It’s a race against time
There is so much to be done in such little time. We must get it done quickly. Being late has repercussions. Getting stuff done has priority over ease and joyful engagement. The time when it has all been done would be the time to rest and relax. This seems to be our mindset. But it never gets done.
It never ends
You work hard on a typical workday, looking forward to the weekend or a vacation. But when you are so used to scurrying about, switching to slower gear on a weekend seems unnatural. It makes you uneasy.
So, you go through your career working hard, looking forward to retiring someday when you finally have enough. Then you can put your feet up and really relax.
But the beauty of life must be experienced and appreciated now. Or we miss the opportunity altogether.
Hurried life feels shallow
When we are rushed, we look without appreciating. There’s little space for love. When we are hurried love doesn’t get the time it needs to touch and move the heart. The feeling cannot be fleetingly felt. They need time to permeate our being.
Our heart yearns for ease and spaciousness
The heart can sense that life has a natural, slower rhythm that is more optimal for your inner well-being. Harmonizing with it feels calming and easeful. It craves more space — to just be.
Life has a gentler rhythm
‘When you attune with the rhythm of life and spirit you will notice that it has its own unique character: it’s flowing, grounded, nourishing, energizing, sustaining and more life-giving than the speed at which modern day life moves.’ — Leon VandePol in A Shift in Being
The heart craves what slowing down can offer. It wants to savour each moment.
Fear of slowing down
Intuitively value inner peace and tranquillity. Yet there is comfort in the familiar busyness. There is a certain anxiety that prevents us from slowing down. Fear of missing out. There is a nagging urge to do something or the other all the time. It is incredibly hard to be still and silent even for a brief while. Makes us uneasy.
Make time to sit quietly sometimes. Breathe deeper and more easefully. It would calm you down. Imagine taking a fresh, gentle and spacious breath all the way into your heart. Keep your mental focus there it helps to imagine that your heart-centred breathing is energising the heart. Gentle spacious and slow breathing can ease away this anxiety. As you breathe, permit yourself some inner silence and stillness. Just watch if there is an inner urge to disturb it. Don’t go with it but feel it, be with it. Let your gentle breath and the light of your heart heal it away.
When you allow yourself to slow down, a kind of spaciousness opens within that is not there when you are rushing. When let yourself sync with the gentler rhythms of life, the universe and the Source, it would slow your thoughts down and help your body relax. As you quieten the noise, open yourself and let in some silent, stillness you would find yourself discovering new energies within. In silence, an easeful space would open in which your heart can guide you inward towards your deeper, truer self.
‘Right now, in this moment, there is nowhere to get to, nothing better to be achieved, nothing that must be changed in order for things to be ‘better’. When we slow down, breathe spaciously and deeply, quieten the noise and move into greater stillness, more of what Spirit and soul can offer can rise into our awareness.’ -Leon VandePol in A Shift in Being
Slowing down unburdens you
You feel less overwhelmed. It eases away the clamour and makes work and life seem more manageable.
It sets you free
It gives you the time you need to pause. You stop. ‘Deal with nothing at all’ just for a moment. Then, take up one thing at a time.
Slowing down tidies up the inner clutter. It creates the room you need to contemplate and create inner clarity. And take decisions with conviction.
We are most resourceful when we are fully engaged with the one task in front of us. We are at our best when other items on the to-do list are not nagging us. In such moments of a mindful flow, all our senses are engaged. That is when we deliver our best work.
Creativity needs you to release the urgency
Rushing about only leaves room for linear thinking. In hurry, we may get much done, but it does not feel fulfilling, perhaps because it is not the expression of the soul’s deepest creative expression. We need to slow down to access the depths of our creative selves.
When we are hurrying about, who has the time to care?**
Daniel Goleman the author of the landmark book 'Emotional Intelligence' talks of an experiment conducted with the students of theology. The students were asked to prepare for a sermon, and then go to deliver it in the next building. Half of the students were told to prepare the sermon on the parable of the good Samaritan — the man who stopped to help a stranger on the side of the road, while the other half were given random topics. Later, as the students walked to the other building to deliver the sermon, they all passed by a man bent over, moaning in pain, clearly needing attention.
Some students stopped to help. Many didn’t. Surprisingly, it didn’t matter if the students had been reflecting on the parable of the good Samaritan or not. What determined whether or not they stopped to help was how much time pressure they were under. How hurried they were.
Our level of busyness affects our ability to care for others.
When we have slowed down we connect more authentically and more deeply.
Dale Carnegie the famous author recounts a touching story in his bestselling book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ One evening, Millie Esposito was in the kitchen with her little son, Robert. After a brief discussion of something that was on his mind, little Robert said something that touched his mother deeply. “Mom, I know that you love me very much,” he said. Mrs Esposito was surprised by his comment and asked if he had any doubts about her love. Robert responded: “No, but I really know you love me because whenever I want to talk to you about something you stop whatever you are doing and listen to me.”
Powerful Listening is an act of Generosity
When we are in a rush, or preoccupied, we are unable to listen very deeply. When we are hurried, we don’t connect with others. We don’t pay attention to their need for care or empathy.
Take a few deep, slow breaths. Slow down even further whatever rhythm you are currently experiencing. As you do this, notice what shifting to an even deeper rhythm feels like. Sense the wavelength of the new rhythm, the easing of your presence within it, the relaxation of your muscles, the dissipation of tension, the expansion of your heart, and the softening of your belly.
With each breath, you take, slow it all down more and more. Let go of all thoughts or expectations and simply enjoy the harmonious energy that is arising within you at this very moment. There is nowhere to go, nothing that must be attained or completed.
'Your being is your doing' -Leon VanderPol
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