I wrote in an earlier post how I often have to remind myself to breathe. Too often, I’m thinking too fast and moving too quickly, even when I’m sitting still.
About a week ago, I got another reminder. Something was hanging up my e-mail app: whatever I typed appeared on the screen one . . . letter . . . at . . . a . . . time. I kept on having to stop and wait for the letters to catch up with me. It was maddening! But then I thought, Hmmm, what if I typed that slowly on purpose? Would I be able to do that? What would the consequences be? So today I gave myself a challenge: Move in slow motion—be aware of every move I make, no matter how subtle—and see what happens.
What happened was wonderful.
• I was more present, more aware of whatever I was doing in the moment, from washing my hands to turning the key in my car’s ignition.
• I was more aware of my surroundings while I drove. I looked slowly to my left and right and took in the landscape.
• The world seemed to slow down too. I felt like I had all the time in the world to do what I wanted to do.
• I had less mental chatter in my head because I was thinking more slowly and clearly and being more present.
• I was more peaceful and calm. I no longer felt like I was in a race to see how much I could get done.
• I naturally started to breathe more deeply, which generated a virtuous circle—breathing slowly and deeply brought peace, which led to breathing more slowly and deeply.
Someone recently showed me the annual prospectus of a large spiritual organization. When I looked through it, I was impressed by the wide choice of interesting seminars and workshops. It reminded me of a smorgasbord, one of those Scandinavian buffets where you can take your pick from a huge variety of enticing dishes. The person asked me whether I could recommend one or two courses. “I don’t know,” I said. “They all look so interesting. But I do know this,” I added. “Be aware of your breathing as often as you are able, whenever you remember. Do that for one year, and it will be more powerfully transformative than attending all of these courses. And it’s free.”
Tolle added this on page 246:
Being aware of your breath forces you into the present moment—the key to all inner transformation. Whenever you are conscious of the breath, you are absolutely present. You may also notice that you cannot think and be aware of your breathing. Conscious breathing stops your mind. But far from being in a trance or half asleep, you are fully awake and highly alert. You are not falling below thinking, but rising above it.
It’s clear that by breathing more consciously and moving more slowly, I’ll get more done and enjoy whatever I’m doing more. Why? I’ll make fewer time-consuming mistakes. I’ll bump into things and drop things less often because I’m paying attention and being mindful.
I also expect that I will get to sleep more quickly because I won’t need a winding down period. I’ll go to bed feeling peaceful and relaxed.
The challenge now is to sustain this slower, more relaxed pace. Speaking of challenges, I’d like to challenge you to slow down for the next thirty minutes and let me know if your results are consistent with mine.
I look forward to slowly reading your stories!
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ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, is a road map for living a more peaceful, beautiful life. It’s the one book that explains how dozens of spiritual principles interact, how to weave them together into a cohesive worldview, and how to practically apply this spiritual wisdom to daily life.
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