We are often told to “slow down.” This begins from early childhood. Many older individuals — certainly well-intentioned — exhort us to take more time doing a task. We all grow up with the aphorism “Haste makes waste!” (1) But, the question remains, does it? I am not so sure. Can I not be extremely busy and yet still productive? The answer is to remain slow and peaceful in your heart while the world swirls around you in a madcap frenzy.
It is definitely a balancing act. It all begins with the self finding that elusive peace that we hear and read so much about. “That is the real spiritual awakening, when something emerges from within you that is deeper than who you thought you were. So, the person is still there, but one could almost say that something more powerful shines through the person” (2) How I do I achieve this – how do I place myself at the eternal portal of the interior journey? The only way is through personal study, quiet contemplation, rapturous prayer, etc. I must desire to gain control of my reality.
To function effectively in modern society, reflection is essential. We must analyze all the information thrown at us by the increasingly paranoid news media. As an aside: why does this form of information continue to exist, this Yellow Journalism? (3) Most assuredly because it has a market: as a public, we like to be afraid, don’t we? The story of Chicken Little (4) has finally found its apotheosis.
At the moment, we are experiencing one of the many plagues and epidemics that have crossed the societal face of humanity since time immemorial. Are we responding better than our medieval ancestors during the Black Death? (5) If you follow the pundits, not much! “How is this possible?” you say to yourself. Why are we so afraid, seemingly of our own shadow? “‘The truth is Mitch,’ he said, ‘once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.’ I nodded. ‘I’m going to say it again,’ he said, ‘Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.’” (6)
This is the reason, then. Few people take the time to contemplate their place in the universe or their personal mission in life. Undoubtedly due to the fact that we are laden with stuff: our things have come to define us. This certainly serves the interests of the companies that make these items, but do the firms benefit the Common Good? (7) If we want to break free — and we do, I am sure — we must restore the gifts of critical thinking and time. I acknowledge that I control my life. This leaves me free to ponder the many travails that all of us face as human beings. I am always reminded that without angst and joy, for that matter, I would not be alive. I would not experience life itself, at least not as a human being. I could be a rock or a cockroach, but not me.
Thus, why slow down when you want to experience every inch of your life? The great illustrator and feminist, Elizabeth Hallowell Saunders (1861-1910), leaves us with a thought: When you realize life would be empty and boring without problems, you begin to accept them and you can even have fun with them. When you enjoy facing problems instead of resisting them, you take care of them when they’re easy before they turn into an overwhelming mountain.
A closing thought: It is pointless to live a life of fear. Once we realize that, at least on this plane, life is finite; we are free to explore all of its potential — because it is my piece of life, not yours. This way of thinking truly opens avenues that have not existed before in most people. This spirit of personal adventure is liberating. It gives the average person a kind of epiphany. We are naturally five things: we are happy, we are peaceful, we are loving, we seek to improve — to become better people — and we are communal. We want to help our fellow man. If this is true, why do few people manifest these innate precepts? Our personal work must begin.
To sum up: This week, we spoke about spending the time to understand your place in the universe. This is a necessary study if you want to minimize fear in your life.
To be noted: An inefficient virus kills its host. A clever virus stays with it.
For reflection: Capitalising happiness
This week during your leisurely stroll please reflect on the speed and the efficiency of your life.
Every day look for something magical and beautiful.
Quote: If I want to be alive, I must give my life the emphasis it deserves.
2) Eckart Tolle: A Conversation With Neale Donald Walsch
4) Henny Penny
6) Mitch Albom: Tuesdays with Morrie (ISBN: 9-780751-527377)