What’s with the rush? Why are we always in a hurry to go somewhere and do something?
We live fast. Even if we don’t do much, we manage to be busy setting goals, adding new unnecessary items to our to-do lists, aiming higher, engaging in different activities and working all the time.
We end up having no time at all. And when we do, we don’t even know how to use it properly because we’ve forgotten what it is to just stop, breathe and enjoy.
There is always something to be done, someone to meet, an event to join, things to read and write and so on. We rush from one thing to another without taking a breath, without even thinking about it.
The autopilot is on and the only emotions we remember lately are stress (from all the haste), anxiety (for the things left undone), disappointment (when something is done wrong or there is no time for it).
Here is how Benjamin Hoff describes it in his spectacular book “The Tao of Pooh”.
He refers to people who are always doing something as Busy Backson because throughout the book he uses simple examples to explain the principles of Taoism.
Below you can see how he described perfectly today’s average person.
The Bisy Backson is always going somewhere,
somewhere he hasn’t been. Anywhere but where he is.
The Bisy Backson is almost desperately active.
He workswhen he works, works when he exercises, and, moreoften than not, works when he plays. Work, work,work. All work and no play makes Backson a dull
boy. Kept up for long enough, it makes him dead,too.
He doesn’t go out for a walk, though; he doesn’t have time.
The Bisy Backson has practically no time at all,
because he’s too busy wasting it by trying
to save it. And by trying to save every bit of it,
he ends up wasting the whole thing.
Of course, real progress involves growing and developing,
which involves changing inside, but that’s
something the inflexible Backson is unwilling to do.
The urge to grow and develop, present in all forms
of life, becomes perverted in the Bisy Backson’s
mind into a constant struggle to change everything
(the Bulldozer Backson) and everyone (the Bigoted
Backson) else but himself, and interfere with things
he has no business interfering with, including practically
every form of life on earth.
Instead, we need to slow down. To eliminate the unnecessary from our life – the stress and worries, the tasks and activities that only waste our time. To learn how find simplicity in daily life and be mindful of what we’re doing at this moment.
Only this can help us enjoy life no matter what and thus make us happy and contented with it.
Taoism offers a simple yet powerful solution (again By B. Hoff):
Tao doesn’t force or interfere
with things, but lets them work in their own way,
to produce results naturally. Then whatever needs
to be done is done.
That doesn’t mean that the goals we have
don’t count. They do, mostly because they cause us
to go through the process, and it’s the process that
makes us wise, happy, or whatever. If we do things
in the wrong sort of way, it makes us miserable,
angry, confused, and things like that. The goal has
to be right for us, and it has to be beneficial, in
order to ensure a beneficial process. But aside from
that, it’s really the process that’s important. Enjoyment
of the process is the secret that erases the
myths of the Great Reward and Saving Time. Perhaps
this can help to explain the everyday significance
of the word Tao, the Way.
What could we call that moment before we
begin to eat the honey? Some would call it anticipation,
but we think it’s more than that. We would
call it awareness. It’s when we become happy and
realize it, if only for an instant. By Enjoying the
Process, we can stretch that awareness out so that
it’s no longer only a moment, but covers the whole
thing. Then we can have a lot of fun. Just like Pooh.
So instead of rushing into the new day, we should embrace it slowly, with a smile and anticipation. Because time is on our side. We control it. And by enjoying the present moment we use it wisely. By being mindful of what we do, we do it better and find more pleasure.
Even the toughest task can become a moment of joy if we do it with the right attitude. Sometimes we need to accept things as they are, not try to change them. This will give us the peace and harmony we’re looking for and therefore will be contented.
Another thing that always helps is gratefulness. Being happy with what you have now, appreciation and realizing how more than enough it is, is one of the secrets to happiness and success.
Gratitude is so easy and yet so rare. If we all start being thankful and focus on what we have rather than what else we need, the less will become more, all the empty spaces will be filled and everything will be in place.
5 Things to Do More Slowly
Life is a beautiful adventure. It is supposed to be simple, joyful, magical and meaningful. This depends on the way we react to things, the way we act, the thoughts we generate, the hope and belief we have.
Rushing through our best years is definitely not the answer.
In the center of every major city, in the offices of big companies or in the subway all you can see is thousands of people literally running.
The interesting thing is that they are rarely late for somewhere, being in a hurry has just become their lifestyle. Some may confuse it with an active and enthusiastic way of living, but it is actually a thing, that is killing them slowly.
Little by little these people forget that the beauty of life is in the details, the things we take for granted and ignore, and those can be felt only in slow motion. When our senses and conscious are moving faster than our body.
So I suggest you stop now. Look around, hear the noises, feel the atmosphere, communicate, take time for your family and hobbies, work with pleasure.
If you’ve fallen into the trap of fast living and for years you’ve been doing everything in a fast motion, without sparing any time for yourself, family, fun, health or for the things you enjoy, then you really need to think over where you are heading in life.
Do you want to continue this daily round for the rest of your life and realize the mistake when it is too late to fix it? It is okay, because you can stop that rush right now.
Here are the things you need to do slower in order to feel alive and appreciate everything and everyone around you:
Eating is not when you are in the fast food restaurant, it’s not when you eat standing up, or just swallowing a sandwich at the office. Having our breakfast, lunch or dinner has to be a ritual which we take seriously.
Sit down, eat slowly and feel the taste of the food, its smell. Chew as many times as you can because digestion starts while we are chewing.
Eliminate any distractions, take time to prepare your food and if you don’t have any, just do your best to enjoy it and feel every bit of it. Thus you will be more satisfied and won’t get hungry after half an hour.
Communication these days has reached a point where everyone says what he has to and doesn’t listen to the response. Some of us speak so fast that others can hardly understand a word we are saying.
Stop that unless you want to set a Guinness world record for fastest speaker. If you need to practice, do it in front of a mirror or with your friends and relatives.
Think before you speak, don’t use many unnecessary words, tell people only the main information. Then try to listen carefully to what they are saying and respond reasonably so that the result is a meaningful dialogue.
Driving fast is putting your life in danger. The mistake will happen once and the only way to avoid it is to become an attentive driver. Don’t be so brave to go over the speed limit.
It is okay to read fast if you just need to go through a document or some papers. But if you are reading a book or a newspaper, don’t hurry.
Examine every sentence and try to get its meaning, feel the author’s message and read between the lines. A book will speak to you only if you understand it correctly.
Fast walkers are the reason why the street of your city is so difficult to pass. They never do it on purpose, but they push everyone and infect with haste. I know people who do that even when they have nowhere to go, their walk consists of big steps and a rapid gait.
If you fall into that category, start doing something about it. Remember that it is just a habit as everything else and can be changed if you give it time and effort. Start walking slowly and look at the things around you.
Go for a walk in the nature, breathe, enjoy the view and notice every detail – the blooming trees, the birds in the sky, the waves in the sea…
Today is a new day with new opportunities. Use it to make a change and do something for yourself. Start doing everything slower and enjoy people, activities, feelings, tastes, etc..
See, hear, feel, breathe and realize in slow motion and every piece of the great puzzle called life will eventually find its place.