About a month or two ago I came across a quote by the legendary Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. When he was asked for his advice for living the good life, he replied,
“Smile, Breathe, and Go Slowly.”
Most of us would probably agree that smiling is good. Who doesn’t like to smile? So I’ve been doing more of that, as well as laughing!
How about breathing? Yep…I’ll agree breathing is good, dare I say fun. Especially those deep breathes when you really focus on filling yourself up with some precious oxygen, then releasing it all with a hefty, relieving sigh. Those feel great!
But…Go Slowly? What does that mean? And why would I ever want to go slowly when there is so much to do and so little time?!? Well, you’re right – there is a lot to do. But, how much of what you think you should do is really that important? And, to the extent that you feel rushed to do all of your wonderful activities, how much are you missing out on the wonder of the Present Moment? Going slowly means deepening our appreciation and connection with life and the beautiful gifts bestowed upon us at birth. It means being aware of your own body. Feel your movements. Marvel at the movement of your own hands. Be like a mime!
According to my highly unscientific understanding of the universe, our bodies are the most complex technology yet discovered. I really could not tell you how I have even come to be thinking and writing these words – yet alone filling my lungs with oxygen and keeping my eyes open. Do you know how it all works? The way we can control our bodies without consciously understanding the miraculous processes we are undertaking at any moment is truly really cool, me thinks too cool to simply take for granted. Going slowly means taking time to acknowledge the wonders of Creation, and in particular, the wonder of you.
Recently I’ve learned a bit of Qigong and Tai Chi, two practices which have made me brutally aware of how awesome our bodies really are. Some of the movements in Tai Chi are simple called, “Standing,” or “Raising Hands,” but such postures that sound so simple are actually glorious and not the easiest to do. Tai Chi brings us intensely into the moment and heightens our awareness as to the amazing nature of our bodies. I highly recommend it if you want to experience the beauty and bliss of Going Slowly.
Also, here is a link to the zenhabits article that first exposed me to some of Thich Nhat Hanh’s words of wisdom.
Here is another great link to an article from artofmanliness.com that has a list of fun practices to go slowly, increase concentration, and probably make you laugh a whole lot and experience some of the essential joys of life. And, don’t worry if you’re not a man – it is really an article for all people blessed with a body.
Cheers! And…I love you 🙂