Slowing Down

Photo courtesy of ShashiBellamKonda

I recently read an article in the  Calgary Sun discussing the lack of patience in North Americans.  It described  a  European man who moved here 10 years ago  who recalled  walking through a grocery store and could not believe how many products were offered in INSTANT forms. Instant milk, Instant soup, Instant coffee. The list went on and on of items one could receive instantly. JUST ADD WATER! MICROWAVE FOR 2 MINUTES! READY IN 3 MINUTES! He thought to himself, 'Wow! What a country!' So fast paced, even our food comes ready-made. Something we are so used to and usually take for granted. Today, you can get rice, bacon, almost anything at the drop of a dime as opposed to some countries where people walk miles just to have access to clean drinking water. In a culture where time is money and money rules all, how many of us find ourselves looking to take shortcuts, whether it be in education, driving, work, or even simple tasks like cooking?  North Americans have always been very money-driven and tend to strive towards efficiency. We are always trying to fill our days, as much as possible, using  calendars and clocks  that can be found on practically every device that we  own. How else could we (Canada) be one of the most powerful nations?    Have three of the top ten most desired cities to live in the world? The land of capitalism offers many opportunities for the driven,  but at what cost?

Photo courtesy of h.koppdelaney

Once in a while, life forces you to take the slow lane. Suddenly time  goes  by so slowly and, in turn, the mind is less stimulated. Your thoughts slow down and you really  start to  pay attention to the finer details  in life. The present moment becomes amplified. In some cases it may be stressful at first since we are so used to our fast-paced lives.  For example,  sitting in traffic or waiting in a long ling at the supermarket is not usually a fun task,  but after the initial frustration  of the stillness, there comes a sense of calm. For some, stress levels reduce.  Yoga is one activity that brings this out in people. The act of breathing deeply, taking in as much air as possible and exhaling completely, and slowly moving  with the breath, with the next pose followed by each breath. Simple breathing, which is normally involuntary, is made voluntary. It is so great to see Yoga becoming more and more popular!

Photo courtesy of René Schröder

Meditation is also a great tool to bring ourselves into a state of calm. Spiritual beings used to climb mountains and sit in caves meditating for days, weeks, even months. Since there is little visual stimulation, we are forced to reflect back into our mind and really take a deeper look at ourselves. 'Know Thyself' is a famous phrase that implies the most powerful knowledge is knowing who you are. To achieve this, you have to first slow down and become a neutral observer. To learn more about meditation, look for Mira Veda's blog on Meditation.

Photo courtesy of lululemon athletica

It is important to take some time out every now and then to do something that gives you this feeling. The mental clarity that you will gain will help you in all aspects of life. I, like many North Americans  pride myself on being a hard worker and there is nothing wrong with that.  However,  I started practicing Yoga and Meditation 4 years ago and it has opened my mind up to experiences I never thought possible. It has helped me become a  calm and focused  individual with the confidence to achieve anything. In the past, I would feel bad about myself if I failed at something or wasn't happy with where I was at in life. Learning to accept the present moment was the biggest challenge. I've learned that loving myself and always striving to be better is the key to leading a  great life instead of a  mediocre  one. Slowing down once in a while, at least once or twice a day, has been so beneficial to my mental, physical, and emotional health.

MANTRA OF THE DAY: "Slow down and watch the world around you with a neutral eye."

Be Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous my L&P readers!