Its Okay To Slow Down

Are you able to recall those timed mathematics quizzes from the early years of grade school? The ones that really made you feel the crunch. For me learning the multiplication tables was a real drag and these timed tests were my mortal enemy. Depending on where and when you went to school you may remember these too.

In fact, most of our modern society runs on a similar crunch and its not just the sound of your favorite breakfast cereal. For the average working man and woman from the minute we wake we gather ourselves and get ready to head off to the races. Generally, we mindfully adhere to the basic routines we’ve developed. Shower, brush teeth, shave, enjoy our breakfast, clothe ourselves, kiss the miss, and head out the door. We have gotten so good at this that most days it requires no thinking but the minute we miss a step or things start backing up, we may be left feeling the pressure.

Would you generally agree that bright and early in the morning we’ve got much less on our plates than the rest of our day? I certainly do. As soon as you step foot out that door what is required of you begins to skyrocket. Drive a car to work? Immediately you’re placed in the seat of a moving vehicle and your attention is demanded in so many places you’d be rightly proud of your developed skill if you knew how much processed at any given time, especially on the highway.

Take all of that, the rest of the day, throw in some unexpected emergencies minor and major over the period of a year. You’re quite the superstar now, no really you should give yourself a pat on the back wouldn’t you agree? Now I ask you this. How many times in the last year have you genuinely sat for more than ten minutes, no intention of falling asleep, with your eyes closed allowing yourself to fall into a deeply relaxed state? If you answered zero or just a few, I commend you but it doesn’t have to be that way.

You deserve to relax and I don’t just mean sleep or TV. I bid to you that setting aside time for genuine relaxation such as meditation is highly overlooked and undervalued. The other day I was meditating as I typically do and I noted someone mention that I was asleep. It got me thinking. How many people go their entire lives without exploring that relaxing state that is available to all of us behind our eyelids?

There are many ways to meditate. For me, the one that has best worked is mindfulness meditation. I practice observing my breath in a detached sense as it flows naturally in and out of wherever it would like to flow, preceded by a complete mindful relaxation of my entire body focusing on one piece at a time from toe to head. This process has helped me change my life and I imagine that it can help you do the same. The benefits are not conveyed easily through specifics and I encourage you to experience them first hand to cultivate your understanding.

Though I am no practicing Buddhist, I was taught meditation by a Buddhist monk who lives in a cave and his name is Ajahn Brahm. If you are looking to learn meditation yourself I encourage you to find him on Youtube. A simple search for “Ajahn Brahm” friday night guided meditation will set you in the right direction. Just about any of the sessions will do, there are many. This was the best way for me to learn meditation but there are also books. One by Thich Nhat Hanh comes to mind named “The Miracle of Mindfulness” if you prefer a good read on it.

If you do choose to indulge, I applaud you. Do stick with it and you will find yourself facing life’s stresses with a new set of eyes. If I have convinced you, my job here is done for today. I bid you farewell until tomorrow friends. Thank you for your time here, I will leave you with this quote until tomorrow.

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets… it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

Tim Kreider

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