Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last…”

Can you hear that song? It’s one of my personal theme songs.

I’m slowly making my way through Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn and loving it. Each morning, I sit and read a couple chapters, maybe ten to fifteen minutes, and then I sit in meditation for another fifteen minutes. I really think it’s helping me move into my mediation practice more smoothly and I’m becoming more aware of what’s happening while I’m sitting.

From this morning’s read, I have two quotes to share with you.

“If you find yourself rushing or becoming impatient, slowing down the pace can help take the edge off your rushing and remind you that you are here now. If you miss the here, you are likely to miss the there.” From Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

This was from the chapter on walking meditation, where you focus on your step, your balance, your breathing, most likely walking in an area where it doesn’t matter where you go, like a labyrinth or garden. He also says you can do an informal walking meditation anywhere, like the grocery store. Feeling rushed? Take a moment to focus on your body while you walk. The world flows right past you.

It seems like the opposite of what you should do if you’re feeling impatient, to slow down. Isn’t that what you’re impatient about? But then I remembered how many times I’ve felt rushed and panicked, when I suddenly realized I was hungry or had to go to the bathroom. I had lost touch with my own body. Slowing down, in this case unintentionally and for a split second, brought my body back into focus and showed me my needs so I could take care of them. What could happen if I slowed down on purpose?

Here’s another quote, this time from a chapter on loving-kindness, a practice I usually scoff at.

“Being whole and simultaneously part of a larger whole, we can change the world simply by changing ourselves.” From Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

I’m picturing water molecules, heated up from below on a flame or from above by the sun. One molecule warms and starts to vibrate, warming the molecule next to it, and then the next, until all of them are bouncing around together, slamming against each other until the boiling water turns to gas and disperses into the air.

We are those molecules. If I calm myself, work on my personal mental, physical, and financial health, I have a positive effect on the people around me. They in turn have more space to work on theirs, because they aren’t defending themselves against me.

At the post office, on the road, or on social media, my hope is that I’m spreading the virus of peace and joy I’ve been infected with out into those spaces. The people I meet won’t catch anger and stress from me. Instead of heating up in the world, I hope to cool the space around me, not to a solid but a nice warm liquid that is easily moved and shaped. Maybe it will catch on and spread, maybe not. But my life will be better for trying. I’d like to see that kind of “contact tracing.”

I’m really enjoying this book. I think I’ll keep reading it at this pace and probably use it as a regular way to step into my everyday meditation practice from now on.

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