HEALING AND DEALING ARTICLES
The Spiritual Body
Not So Hasty
Many of us are familiar with the character Treebeard from Tolkien's "Lord
Of The Rings", and the comical ways in which he moved and acted more slowly
than any of the other characters (who weren't Ents, of course). We could say that
nobody in a human body would ever want to take as long as Treebeard did to do
things, but I find Treebeard to be a great teacher. When I am moving slowly and
unhurriedly, my breathing deepens, my thoughts drop out and I am significantly
more in touch with my body and my feelings. It's remembering and practicing the
art of slowness that is the tricky piece to master.
We in rural settings figure we've slowed down the pace of our lives merely
by living here, having "dropped out of the race". To some extent this is true, but
we need only look as far as summers in tourist economies, such as on a Gulf
Island's, to notice how extremely we picked up that pace. Though we can strive
to, and some of us succeed in living mostly off the grid, we cannot separate from
the rest of our human species. The world is getting faster, and from inside
ourselves we feel impulsed to keep up. Television, and especially commercials,
faster than ever in their jump cuts, are one reflection of this.
There are many possible reasons for this, but to my mind one stands out:
fear of death. A fear of not getting everything we want done before we start to
become decrepit and become incapable of realizing our dreams and doing
everything we judge we need to do so that those dreams may reach fruition.
To compensate for this unresolved terror, we move fast. We get ahead of
ourselves, we leave the moment, our bodies. We overplan, strategize and think,
our lightning-quick minds three moves ahead of what we are doing right now. We
don't notice what our bodies are actually doing and feeling, right now. We
breathe shallowly and unconsciously. And from Middle Earth, Treebeard sighs
and shrugs his shoulders.
What can be done to slow down and live deliberately? There are several
possibilities to play with. Try taking some time every day to sit and breathe
deeply and slowly for a few minutes. Then, while continuing to breathe, continue
moving through your day, in slow motion. It doesn't have to be ultra-slow-mo,
just slower than your normal pace. Notice what "comes up" in you as a result; do
you feel impatience, harsh words in your head to get a move on, dire predictions
of missed deadlines? If you feel emotions arise as a result, release them in the
ways that work for you. That internal pressure to move faster is real; you are not
making it up. Let it whirl past you, let that energy leave you in its wake.
Personally, the best way I have found to cool down my own pace is a daily
practice of Somatic exercises. They are a brillliant body meditation, an organic
slowdown for my entire system, and contain a plethora of health benefits. I like to
practice mindful movement when I have completed my daily routine. Yoga may
accomplish the same things for you; at any rate, you may be able to find a body-
centered practice that works for you if you intend to bring yourself present and
reduce your "hastiness quotient".
The reality is, we do sometimes need to move quickly in order to
accomplish things in certain time frames, and that must be allowed without a
new reason for feeling guilty at having to move expediently. Even Treebeard
knows there is a time for action. Hom-hooooooom!!
I am currently working on expanding these articles into a book, which I would prefer to self-publish for many reasons. If the material resonates for you and you would like to support its birthing process by making a donation to help cover publishing expenses, ask questions, make a
comment or simply get on the mailing list, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can be made to that address via StormPay, or to IntGold ID 12022. Thanks for reading!
Peter Cloud Panjoyah, British Columbia, May 2004
All material copyright 1997-2004 Panjoyah