Friday, February 7, 2014

Living At A Slower Pace

"Let us live each day twice" was the headline of a recent article in the Kyeongyang magazine in which a university professor mentions  the way many of the Indian Tribes in the Americas considered the month of February.  She reflects on the Mohawk  people's understanding of the month as the 'slow moving month.' She first understood it to mean a month of hunger and cold, before seeing it in a more personally moving way, as a reminder to live each day more slowly and with more awareness. 

Citing the French philosopher Pierre Sansot (1928-2005) and his book The Meaning of Slow Living, she lists lists some of his proposals to start living a slower life: Go for a leisurely stroll, listen to people very intently, do everything with your whole heart, become attentive to your dreams, wait for opportunities and do  your best to make the most of them, spend some time writing, and occasionally enjoy a glass of wine--all to be done without a sense of business.

Koreans, she says, are known to be always busy. This is not a good trait, according to Sansot. To be pressed by time is to lose your freedom; we are to live in harmony with time and this is done by living slowly. Pascal said "Men have only one problem: They don't know how to rest in a quiet room."  A society that expects only efficiency and productivity is not conducive to this slow life that is being recommended. 

She mentions the hero of the fantasy movie About Time, who is told by his father that they have the capability of going back into time if they think long enough about it. Although relishing this way of life for awhile, he realizes that instead of going back into the past to fix problems it is better to live completely and fully in the present, and also to make the most of each moment we have been given, for it is then that we find in surprising and new ways the hidden happiness, fruitfulness and mystery of our personal relationships.

Thomas a Kempis in his Imitation of Christ writes "Now is the time to be up and doing, now is the day of battle, now is the time to change my life." And the professor adds, if we don't succeed today we have tomorrow to complete the work. Today we work, we walk, we dream, we wait. And when tomorrow comes, we have another chance to give ourselves to another new day by again giving ourselves carefully and completely to the work before us.

Every 24 hours we need to be awake to this new birth we have received and to begin it with a new awareness to live it well. Tomorrow's day and the next day, when they come, are always today's day, always new and always ready to give us great joy. With the birth of each new day, slowly, in orderly fashion, we also are born again.

Below is a paragraph from the book The Meaning of Slow Living:

More than anything else what elates me the most is the birth of a new day. At the birth of a new day I am filled with vitality. For 24 hours I am conscious that in every moment I can express who I am. To my eyes the birth of a new day comes to me with more emotion than the birth of a new infant.Tomorrow, another day will be born. Tomorrow again, I will be looking forward to the  future.

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