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  • Writer's pictureJoe Arnold

Slowing down

There is now a huge amount of research into the benefits of sitting quietly in stillness. I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of taking time every day to sit in silence, calm my mind, and simply take a break from ‘doing’. Yet something else, some excuse, always get in the way of it actually happening.


I know it’s not just me as so many people I meet say the same. So why is that? We know it’s good for us, and we feel so much better after doing it, yet it can be a struggle to put it in our daily lives.


The usual excuses are ‘I don’t have time’, or ‘I’m far too busy’.


It took me a while to realise that both excuses actually mean, if I’m truthful, ‘I am not willing to prioritise the time to sit quietly and be calm.’


There is an old Zen proverb which says: ‘Sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy, then sit and meditate for an hour.’


Gandhi also said something similar: ‘I have a lot to accomplish today, therefore I will meditate for two hours instead of one.’


So, what do these quotes mean? Both seem counterintuitive.


They may mean something different for everyone, but there are a couple of meanings I take from them:


1.      I know for me that sitting quietly and in stillness for even a few minutes everyday can have huge benefits on my mood, focus, stress levels, productivity, and energy. So, if I am choosing to do a lot of tasks in a day, then prioritising time to slow down and settle my mind can actually allow me to get more of those tasks done and more efficiently.


2.      If I feel like I can’t take any time at all to be peaceful in my day; then the tasks that I think I’m in control of, are actually in control of me.


So, if like so many people you’re struggling to prioritise quiet time, then from my experience I would suggest starting small. If 20 minutes feels too much, then do 5 minutes. If that feels too much, then do 1 minute. No amount is too small. The only unsuccessful session of quiet time is the one you didn’t do!


I hope throughout your days you start to create less busyness, rushing and stress, and experience more enjoyment, peace and calm!


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