Slowing Down

Eknath Easwaran, Take Your Time: Finding Balance in a Hurried World

This book reminds me of something Thomas Merton believed: “The spiritual life is simple, but not easy.” Even though many people in the U.S. have ample access to various technologies and appliances, we still feel rushed, harried, always behind. Sri Easwaran offers straightforward advice for internal and external “engineering” of our lives. For example, he suggests we practice in choosing intentional living to automatic reacting. He offers a profound teaching from Meher Baba—“A mind that is fast is sick. A mind that is slow is sound. A mind that is still is divine.” He encourages us to cultivate the sovereignty of our own thinking process as well as juggle with our likes and dislikes (an example—experiment connecting with people we find hard to be with, for one reason or another.) Some of his suggestions are reminders of what we know and regularly forget—get up early, live in the present moment, respond to others with patience, drive our cars under the speed limit, do one thing at a time. At the end of the book he situates the practice of slowing down with other spiritual disciplines in a holistic program of sadhana (training in the transformation of our consciousness, character, and conduct), particularly meditation and mantra. It is from Sri Easwaran that I learned of something the Concord sage Henry David Thoreau espoused in the mid-19th century: “I have no time to be in a hurry.”

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