Life seems to be getting faster and faster?
Don’t we want and look for instant responses, instant satisfaction and the fastest way to do things though too? This seems to have been particularly driven over the years by technological and scientific inventions.
Why this speed fixation?
It seems to be about having more and doing more. We are inventing more and more things to have and do. Yes, I do attain some satisfaction from having and doing, but does it last? Are these not just short term fixes rather than long term solutions?
Could it be that we are being conned by speed?
The underlying assumption is that to have and to do are the answers to our inner ills, that our happiness and well-being are related to having and doing. Is it truth or illusion that the recipe for a happy life = to have more and to do more?
‘Speed kills’ the signs say.
Over recent last years there has been a boom in consumerism (cars, ipods, etc) and in activities (holidays, dare devil sports, etc) whilst simultaneously we are seeing an ever increasing rise in depression and anger. In the 1990s Oliver James published a book called: Britain on the Couch – Why We’re Unhappier Compared with 1950 Despite Being Richer. He brought together research that showed how today (in 1990s) we have six times the wealth we did in 1950 but are in fact less happy.
Having and doing actually create dependency.
This is shown up when things are taken away from us, either the things we consider we own or our ability to do. Speed disconnects us from ourselves and we look to things outside of us to fill up that inner emptiness and dependency is formed. To slow down is to look at what it means to be and to re-connect with one’s self. Dr Roger Cole wrote a book called Mission of Love about his work a palliative care doctor and the amazing people he cared for. These people had had everything taken away from them and in letting go and acceptance experienced such a deep inner peace that their lives were transformed, touching deeply those around them.
In the 1800s William Henry Davies wrote: What is this life if full of care have no time to stop and stare?
This is meditation: to stop and stare. He was talking about stopping and appreciating the beauty out there. In meditation it is the qualities within that we stop and observe. Observation is a tool to slow us down. As we observe we step back and question ‘What am I doing here?’ In fact, if I am not asking ‘What is my purpose?’ it means that I am still caught up in the rush of life and not the observer. Could it be that our purpose now is to learn to ‘be’?
I do need a structure though for this journey, from having and doing to being. I need to give myself the time and space to learn how to be. Silence in the morning, stops in the day, a break at lunchtime and last thing at night. This is the doing I need to do, to create such a daily programme for myself to stop and stare.
As I experience being and reconnect with ‘me’ having and doing take on a new perspective and the illusion I have been living is highlighted. In this consciousness I start to free myself from having and doing and learn how to relate to people and the environment without creating dependency – that leaves me vulnerable.