Slowing Down

We are all in such a rush to get things done. Expectations are high. Payments from the marketplace of skills come too slowly for our appetites. Things around us seem to be piling up, falling down, running over and creating a cacophony of unwelcome noise. “How could I possibly slow down,” you ask?

Yet, slowing down is wise these days, especially when technology is advancing faster than our ability to fully consider the ramifications.

Let’s consider the technology of atom-splitting, for instance. In 1944, we were in a war with Germany, Italy and Japan. We had lost many soldiers and some citizens. We had spent millions of dollars and had to suspend everyday comforts. We were anxious to stop the flow of blood and tragedy and return to “normal.” To that end, scientists were quarantined and exhorted to create a bomb that would stop the enemy cold. And in our inability to stop and consider the future ramifications, we dropped two of those monsters. All we wanted was to win and end the war. We got that, but we also got proliferation of those monsters which caused: spending billions of dollars and scientific energy on warfare instead of solving real human problems; government indebtedness previously unheard of; and worldwide rumors of coming terror that persist today.

All of this is because we couldn’t slow down use of the technology in the urgency of war. We did not fully consider how we might suffer the consequences, let alone others. Today, we go forward at breakneck speed in the war of free market economics.

Slowing down can be a form of practiced wisdom that many handicapped bask in, senior citizens join and meditators embrace. Slowing down is helpful for living fully now. It detaches us from the urgency of attachments, being “up to date” and technologically adept or being superficially relevant. Slowing down allows us to connect deeply rather than skimming over what really matters.

Certainly you have noticed that when you come back from vacation or being on extended sick leave that your involvement was not as crucial as you had thought. Perhaps that felt disappointing. But it is proof that slowing down does not stop things from moving forward as they will. Our fears of being left out or becoming irrelevant are just fears and not realities. Slowing down allowed you to heal and recuperate, be your best self.

So, today… try slowing down. No, don’t try. Make a commitment to it. Decide for wisdom, healing and allowing for time-outs. You will probably get fewer wrinkles, better heart and adrenal health. You will be able to take a full mealtime to be with the food and make a connection with the hands that prepared it for you. Your head will clear and peace will be more accessible. Doesn’t that sound great?

Ted Miller, my father and the inspiration for this blog, knew how to slow down. Every Sunday was a sabbath for him. And as much as he could, he did not rush any day of the week. I think he understood the value of getting things done slowly and fully. He also took time daily to read the Bible, ask questions of it, pray and share it with others, even if it did not bear immediate fruit. Ted Miller got wise by slowing down. And I thank him from the bottom of my heart.

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