Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Make Haste Slowly

I first heard this expression from a Spirit Rock teacher named Mary Orr. She was describing how to move during a retreat, and that even though we might need to get from one place to another quickly, we can still maintain a mindful awareness of our actions.

At home, no matter how hard I try to manage my day, I sometimes back myself up into a corner time-wise. Pretty soon, I find that I am sprinting from one room to another, hurtling over Sam the dog or one of the children along the way. And almost inevitably, I drop things, forget things, or make mistakes that I would normally not make if I were moving more slowly. When I rush around like this, it even seems like inanimate objects are conspiring against me. My computer takes forever to shut down, or my keys mysteriously misplace themselves. In some cases, my speed costs me more time when I realize after leaving the door that, in my haste, I've forgotten something and have to double back.

So when the urge to rush takes over, I try to remember to slow things down, moving as efficiently as I can, but not with a lot of speed. This sets up a natural flow of things and I can move more easily through the transition times of leaving the house, arriving at the office, or getting to class (often with an armload of meditation cushions).

Naturally, applying haste without speed also leads to a bit of a reduction in tension, which makes me, and everyone around me, much happier.


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