“As Swami Beyondananda says to promote his product – (an empty box labeled “Nothing”) – No matter what your problem is, Nothing will help; Nothing is known to cure baldness; Nothing gets out those impossible stains; Nothing is completely safe to eat; Nothing lasts forever; Nothing beats sex; It’s the ultimate enlightenment tool because the secret to everything is Nothing; if you understand Nothing, you understand everything.” The key to understanding Nothing is to break down the word into it’s components No-Thing, No-This, No-That will help your problem. Only in realizing the wholeness of everything will you find fulfilment and contentment” – David Life
Today is one of the last days of the Jivamukti Focus of the Month, which this month is March Madness. I don’t know about you but its been a pretty mad month for me; going back to university, starting to teach yoga and learning how to strike balance again in a new, busy lifestyle – an un-fancy yoga home practice has been the foundation. I was recently listening to a TedTalk by Carl Honoré who wrote a book called In Praise of Slowness. I think it speaks to the focus of the month and was something that really resonated with me:
A world obsessed with speed, with doing everything faster, with cramming more and more into less and less time. Every moment of the day feels like a race against the clock. To borrow a phrase from Carrie Fisher, “These days even instant gratification takes too long”. And if you think about how we to try to make things better, what do we do? We speed them up, don’t we? So we used to dial; now we speed dial. We used to read; now we speed read. We used to walk; now we speed walk. And of course, we used to date and now we speed date. And even things that are by their very nature slow — we try and speed them up too. So I was in New York recently, and I walked past a gym that had an advertisement in the window for a new evening course. And it was for, you guessed it, speed yoga. So this — the perfect solution for time-starved professionals who want to, you know, salute the sun, but only want to give over about 20 minutes to it.
But there’s a very serious point, and I think that in the headlong dash of daily life, we often lose sight of the damage that this roadrunner form of living does to us. We’re so marinated in the culture of speed that we almost fail to notice the toll it takes on every aspect of our lives — on our health, our diet, our work, our relationships, the environment and our community. And sometimes it takes a wake-up call, doesn’t it, to alert us to the fact that we’re hurrying through our lives, instead of actually living them; that we’re living the fast life, instead of the good life. And I think for many people, that wake-up call takes the form of an illness. You know, a burnout, or eventually the body says, “I can’t take it anymore,” and throws in the towel. Or maybe a relationship goes up in smoke because we haven’t had the time, or the patience, or the tranquillity, to be with the other person, to listen to them.
Right across the world, people are doing the unthinkable: they’re slowing down, and finding that, although conventional wisdom tells you that if you slow down, you’re road kill, the opposite turns out to be true: that by slowing down at the right moments, people find that they do everything better. They eat better; they make love better; they exercise better; they work better; they live better. And, in this kind of cauldron of moments and places and acts of deceleration, lie what a lot of people now refer to as the “International Slow Movement.”
Listening to this really hit home for me just how important it is to slow down, no matter what demands the world appears to be putting on you in any given moment. In application to our asana practice, there is nothing that we like to speed up like vinyasa. But as I learnt recently during my yoga teacher training, vinyasa is meditation in motion. It is said that when we master strict vinyasa, when our breath, intention, bandhas and gaze guide our continuous movement, we lose all fear of death and life.
Whats the rush?
Enjoy the stillness,
References and Resources
In Praise of Slowness: https://www.ted.com/talks/carl_honore_praises_slowness
Slow Your Home Podcast (one of my favourite): http://slowyourhome.com/the-slow-home-podcast/