Slow down. Stop. Wait. Take a moment. Breathe. Smile.
We hear a lot about stopping to smell the roses, but for someone in a hurry, this simple act might seem like a waste of time – a distracting indulgence for busy, powerful, important people.
Until we’ve mastered the art of flow, however, we might consider the following …
When I pause, I bring myself back to myself. At any time, if only for a moment, I know that this is an option. When I catch a breath and watch the world rush past, I can smile, knowing and accepting, from the heart of my soul, that I am going nowhere fast, feeling: how beautiful it is to do nothing and then rest afterward. In the spirit of this Spanish proverb, I give myself the gift of pausing.
Today, I shall remember to pause, even if this means vacillating between the call of contentment and the rise of urgency. In this oscillation, I recall these wise words from the Upanishads: by standing still, we overtake those who are running. Of course, I understand that this little gem, like all gems of wisdom, requires that I apply it in the right place at the right time for the right reason.
I pause when I feel confused, I pause when I feel overwhelmed, and I pause when I feel perplexed; I pause when I need a rest, I pause when I feel stumped, and I pause when I feel pressed to control a process or outcome over which I have little or no control. I pause, knowing that when I do, the insight or inspiration will come, and when it does, I can follow my guidance, moving forward.
Some years ago, when I took part in a weekly wisdom discussion group, we would periodically take a few minutes to pause and rest our eyes and awareness on an object of our choice.
With our soft gazes flexibly fixed, we would just sit and listen, soaking up the sounds and sensations of nature, and when it was over, we felt relaxed, released, refreshed, and renewed.
In the course of a day, we can perform this gesture at any time, if only for a few seconds.
At any time, I can slow down, stop, wait, take a moment, breathe, and smile. In a sacred moment, I can be receptive, with uncommon care, to what I see, how I feel, and why I’m here.
Admittedly, the pause is paradoxical: it’s the easiest yet most difficult thing in the world to do.
Difficult, that is, if I neglect the sacred practice of being with myself, of being receptive to myself, of sensing and following the next wise, intuitive prompt from the depths of my soul.
Infused with a sanctified Presence, the heart of my soul can pay heed to my next prompt, knowing intuitively that it feels good and feels right, without doubt and without question.
There’s no choice but to follow it and to realize the vast freedom in it.
This post is the fourth in a series that began here.