Slowing down

Life can sometimes feel overwhelming. Every moment of the day is filled with something that demands our attention: jobs, children, family, housework. We are bombarded with information every day – advice on how we should be, products we should buy to make us feel better or improve our lives. In the workplace efficiency has become such a common watchword that it has lost meaning – everyone is being asked to do more with less. And there seems no end in sight.

And how do we respond to all this busy-ness? By increasing our busyness. We fill our time with noise, with activity and plans, with problems and resentments, with victories and defeats, passions and memories. It seems almost as if we will do anything to avoid a quiet moment of silence. We plug in to our mobile phones or iPods, tv and computer screens to fill the empty space. We run because we are afraid of what will happen if we stop running; we don’t take the time to slow down and look inside for fear of what we might discover.

Occupied by so much activity – physical, mental and emotional – we become not so much human beings as human ‘doings’!KeepSilence_Rumi_web

And what lies underneath all the ‘doing’, beneath all the emotions and stream-of-consciousness thinking? What is there that underlies and supports our every moment of being? Mystics through the millennia have attempted to describe this; no words can really express what this ‘IS-ness’ is, yet all agree that it is both vast and empty. Even though this vast space is beyond any concept the mind might hold, still it is possible to ‘know’. After all, everyone has an experience of being ‘I’ – we all ‘know’ this.

We come into contact with that experience of simply being every time we slow down…

…. and drop into the silence of that vast empty space.

When we do so, we connect – and feel connected.

Only then do we stop running. And it is only when we stop running from ourselves that we recognise we will never ‘fix’ our lives – or the craziness of the world we have inherited and are continuing to create – at any superficial level. As Einstein famously said, “A problem cannot be solved at the level that it was created.”

When we slow down enough to feel whatever it is we are feeling, sadness may arise… or anger or any number of other emotions. When you allow that it is ok to feel any of these things, something happens. We feel more at peace, as if body and mind come together to rest, rather than being in constant conflict.

When we are at rest we recognise something much deeper, a spaciousness which seems to be empty and yet is also full of potential: a vast, silent empty/ fullness.

Make friends with that deep empty space that is our source, and everything seems to open up – we find our true selves, our authentic expression and the discovery of creative solutions to all our challenges.

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