“The Joy that Dwells Far Within Slow Time…”

Was my favorite line from this poem. Slowing down. Quiet. Calm. Patience. Ease, Peace and harmony. These, to me, are the blessings of slow time.

I loved how Chris opened by connecting this poem to the breath. Without breathing, we would all immediately die – and yet we somehow so often take this basic biological function completely for granted while living. The way we breathe is intricately connected with the way we think. Rapid breathing is usually accompanied by quick, unfocused and often angry or fearful thoughts. Slow, deep breathing is associated with serenity of thought.

Fortunately, simply learning to breathe deeply, through the nose, can do wonders for one’s overall mental and physical well-being in any given moment. Continue reading

Silence: The Space of Infinite Possibility

Another incredible Wednesday, full of deep sharing on the power and need for silence in life. I liked Neil’s reflection on the sound of silence, from a recent DailyGood article called “In Pursuit of Silence: How Noise is Really Killing Us.” In this article, the writer explores how noise wreaks havoc throughout the body and how, as a culture, we tend to view noise as being linked with the pursuit of fun and happiness.

He discovered how marketers actually play loud music in stores to attract customers and how noise is also connected with the pursuit of individuality. It is true that in cultures like the Indian one I come from, quietness is looked upon very highly, whereas it’s misunderstood to be something dull and boring in places like America, where people often compete to be the loudest. Examples of this include dressing a certain way to ‘make a statement’ or express oneself, noisy rock and punk bands that blast their music and the “boom car” competitions to see whose stereo can make the most noise.

Noise, however, is not just something external. There is much noise to be found inside the mind when one turns inward for the practice of meditation and contemplation. Often, in life, however, we cannot even hear ourselves, much less be receptive and available to listen deeply to the unspoken needs of others around us. I love this idea that the soul speaks in a whisper, which often gets tuned out by the noise of the senses. Continue reading

‘Three Great Forces’ – and How to Overcome Them

Last Wednesday, we discussed a passage titled “Three Great Forces,” which were identified as anger, lust and laziness. I agreed with Neil that there were other ‘great forces’ left out of this passage – particularly fear (which I’ve written about more in another blog entry as well). Swami Sivananda has said that fear is the root cause of all the negative emotions. And at the root of all fear lies a fundamental fear, which is that of death. Fear causes people to do many things that they later regret. So many people, for example, stay in abusive relationships due to the fear of being alone. Fears around financial sustainability abound, and yet so many of the poorest people I have met have television sets and expensive clothing to address the fear of not fitting in without accounting for basic necessities like healthy food. This pattern also has to do with another great force: greed (which is connected to lust). It takes a degree of fearlessness to truly live simply and yet, when we live simply, all our needs stand a higher chance of being fulfilled. As Gandhiji once said,

“There is enough for human need, but not enough for human greed.”

Fear causes us to remain small and limited by the constraints of what we already know. Continue reading