The animals that have the longest life span in the planet are elephants and turtles. The key is being slow. I trust we can live a happy, long life if we slow down enough too. Think about it!
I have been living and teaching yoga in Hong Kong, a fast-paced city, for more than a decade. It is easy to be driven by this pace of the city and become overly affected by it. This was how it used to be for me. Now, this pace and energy affects me a lot less as Hong Kong is the perfect place for me to practice slowing down and finding ease. It is an opportunity for me to practice mindfulness. Through slowing down, I have learned to catch up with myself, my teachings, and other aspects of my life. It has also helped me to see things I have missed in my past.
Slowing down is not a step back, but a step forward for the 'Aha' moments, to see the reality as it is. Slowing down is a blessing!
It is a blessing because it provides us the space to witness ourselves, by witnessing who we are, what we do and how things are laying in front of us. Knowing what we are, what we do and how we are being part of the flow create a shift in us, to recognize Happiness, Love, Peace and Freedom.
Slowing down is a great way to tame the body, mind and energy. Slowing down is a chance for us to anchor our own being, to be part of ourselves. An anchored body and mind, allows sufficient space to see the reality as it is, with clarity in every given moment. A mind that is spacious has the understanding to see the patterns we make and by understanding the pattern, it gives us a way out of the continual suffering and pain.
Slowing down though is awkward for the busy mind in the beginning. The space between actions is weird to the busy mind. The awkwardness itself is the moment of sharpness coming in us. This is the moment where we can be part of the gap and feel settled. But the gap can be so powerful that it can flip us back to the limited pattern again through impulsive actions. We all know intellectually that slowing down is needed in our lives to find the ease and to be part of clarity. However, when situations hit us, we forget how to slow down. This is simply because we lack the practice of slowing down.
The moment of the gap is good for us to refresh and reconnect. To know how we are feeling and doing. The moment of reflection, though short, is a great way for us stay at home, at our heart. When we feel at home, we restart with softness and bring precision into the practice. Precision is what helps us create shift in life and in our practice. Even when we are resting, we rest with enough alertness.
The world view of slowing down is giving the mind a chance to roam, to rest freely and to do things mindlessly. When the mind gets a chance to roam freely, the mind starts to get disoriented.
The mind needs something to hold onto in order to stay sharp and spacious. Giving attention to the things we do is a great way to train the mind and stay awake.
Even when we are resting, we give attention to how we are resting. Wakefulness and precision has to be present in all aspect of life. Awareness and precision in the practice help us how to be part of inner joy.
To experience inner joy in our whole being, we must invite the attitude of ease into the practice. Ease itself is joy. Inner joy is present when ease is present moment to moment. Inner joy is not just the end goal, it has to be present from the start, in the interim and at the end. This can be maintained when we slow down enough. Inner joy is an unbroken flow of life. To recognize and experience that we must have an understanding of what is inner joy and how to be part of it. When we have a better perspective, we move with ease and clarity.
We want to be part of the outer world and we should enjoy it. However, to enjoy the outer world, we must not fluctuate with our inner world. When we lose the inner connection, no matter how hard we try, we struggle. Pain and suffering that comes in life and practice, is a reminder that we are disconnected with the inner source of life.
Life is grace not a race. When we think life is a race, this mentality takes us away from peace of mind and clarity. The more we move from this state of mind, the more struggle and suffering we are inviting in our lives. Even when we have started the practice with great intention, we somehow lose the spark of the practice and heart because of the race. We lose touch with the ease and peace. That means we move away from love.
We have always been in a race to be part of the highest. And in this race we have forgotten to recognize that we are everything. The more we slow down and stay aware, the more we can recognize and experience we are the highest in stages.
So, slow down and let the universe unfold itself and to be part of the mystery! It will require a tremendous amount of trust and patience. The more you stay open to the moment to moment of life, the more you will recognize how the universe works with us, and, it has always been like that, just the race that we are in has disconnected us from the deeper source of life.
To recognize and be part of it, put aside five to ten minutes for yourself to reflect on your day every evening.
This is a simple way to trust and reconnect to the subtle practice that life offers.
We are surrounded from the simplest to the most intricate beauties in life. We have the natural longing to experience it. It has always been within us. Our hearts speak to that. It makes us move forward and it’s the start of the beautiful ride. When our hearts are oriented to be part of the beauty, we do not have to rush. Inner joy starts with softness and slowing down, not rushing. Rushing makes us forget things. Rushing is skipping. Skipping is a shortcut. Shortcut is a limitation. When we rush, we move with impulsiveness. Impulsiveness makes us forget the simplest knowledge. We forget how to realize the beauty hidden in the simplest things. Forgetfulness brings us to a place of restriction.
When we remember the importance of slowing down, we reconnect with a better perspective and action. If we slow down and learn to stay awake, it brings us to the state of wakefulness, mindfulness and gentleness, the experience naturally becomes better. We don't have to run for the better experience, experience naturally flows towards us. This is the beauty of life. Slow down and look at the pattern with softness and gentleness without frustration and losing the interest of the practice. Reframe the mind when the mind is reflective and clear. Allow this attitude to guide us to become the master of our own craft eventually.
To be a part of the untouched and unknown state of the practice, we must remember to slow down enough and stay awake. This allows us to experience the highest and we started to tap into the deeper dimensions within us. The unbroken flow of life starts to emerge in us. We eventually get to the place where we will have a great appreciation for life.
Slow down and enjoy the ride that life offers you and be a part of that ride with an open heart and a clear mind. The spark of life or practice is hidden within each step we take. Not just the beginning or the end, also every step of the way. We must learn to be a part of each step with delight and remind ourselves that life is a journey.
When we learn to be part of each step, the inspirations just spill out in front of us. The trust in life comes naturally.
The vision starts to look sharper and more vivid. We naturally invite ourselves to continue to be part of the play and through enjoying that play, we eventually recognize that we are part of the play; we are the player — and the play itself.
May we remember to slow down just enough in all aspects of life and witness with softness and gentleness, to recognize what is necessary to be a part of the play with our best intention and effort.