Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Take it Easy!

As cooling water quenches a raging thirst best if taken slowly, so if we would get the most out of our lives, it were best to move at a leisured pace. There is an old adage, “More haste, less speed,” and it is very true. As we become more practiced at certain tasks, we can complete them more quickly but there is every difference between the speed and efficiency of a skilled practitioner and the haste of the amateur under pressure. Unless we move slowly and take the time to “smell the flowers” we miss so much.

The glory of our lives is the journey, not the destination, no matter how wonderful that destination may be when we reach it. Sometimes, in our haste to reach the destination we rush along, single-mindedly looking neither to the left or the right, brushing others out of our way or ignoring their greetings. We are so determined to reach that destination all else becomes unimportant. You know what I mean. And when we get there? Is it as good as we expected? Yet had we taken our time, avoided brushing people aside, not ignored their greetings and taken time to pause and admire the scenery. Taken time to help someone in need, to listen to the birdsong, to stroke a kitten or pat a dog, we would have so many happy memories, that the failure of the destination to live up to expectations, would not matter.

It is a sad fact about modern life, that speed has become almost essential. We even have ‘fast food’! When I was younger, all families ate together at home and mother would lovingly cook their favourite dishes, no matter if they took a long time to prepare. People travelled to and from work by public transport and actually talked to one another. We were interested in our neighbours from a wholesome point of view and listened when they used us to unburden themselves when worried or rejoiced with them in their happiness. There always seemed to be time to “have a cup of tea and a chat”. In business it was similar. The heads of businesses took time to go out from their offices during business hours and meet their peers and clients or customers in the local Coffee House. They recognised that success in business gave them a responsibility towards their local communities and they formed and worked hard for organisations dedicated to that end. They would take lengthy lunch hours for these same purposes and yet, was business less successful, or profitable? Has spending every minute behind their desk at a computer screen or on the telephone made business life more amenable? What is certain is that the headlong dash for speed and ‘efficiency’ has reduced enormously the number of jobs available, has destroyed the concept of remaining in the employ of a single Company all our working life, made pension provision a lottery and raised the level of stress in business to record levels.

Is it any wonder therefore that our world is in chaos, that stress is the greatest killer of human beings in so called, advanced societies? It seems to me that in misunderstanding the meaning of efficiency and bending our wills to becoming ever more efficient in all walks of life, we have ‘thrown the baby out with the bath water.’ Life need not be like this and in reality haste is the arch-enemy of our true progress as eternal beings. We are spending just a brief time in an earthly environment but paradoxically, to obtain the most from it we need to take our time and savour the experience in full. The spirit, our true self, requires periods of silence, of quiet contemplation. It needs to reach out to human, animal, vegetable and mineral to feel our kinship with the whole of creation. The fact that time on Earth is short is only important to those convinced there is nothing else. Wherever we spend time, whether on Earth or in various Spirit realms, the experience we are undergoing at the moment is vital for our growth and it is essential therefore to try to get the most from every stage. Never can we do that if we are in a constant rush. To appreciate every nuance of life in any environment, we must be alert, conscious of all that goes on around us and determined to extract one thousand metres of understanding from every kilometre we travel along the road. Nothing happens around us or to us without there is a purpose. As Alexander Pope puts it, “All chance is direction we cannot see.”

So enjoy your journey; take your time; smell the flowers and learn their names; allow yourself to feel; permit yourself to slow down, stop and dream; move slowly enough to tell when someone needs your help and above smile and think happy!

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