I was pondering the nature of stillness while working on this four part koi illustration. The past few years there’s been this leaning in towards slowing down. Creating personal time apart from work and turning off mobile devices has become common corporate culture in many organizations. Slow food and slow eating has taken hold and people are actually paying attention to what they eat again. There is interaction with and interest in how food is sourced. Now slow blogging has started to take hold. People are mindfully considering content over capacity. Hopefully other media will pick up on this and maybe we’ll see a diminishment of the 24/7 news networks mongering fear and creating division amongst us…
Every day we are pulled in a million different directions. It all needs to be done yesterday and we are expected to multitask in almost everything we do. Even meditation, the ultimate form of slowing down, has been indoctrinated into the multitasking cult. Binaural beats can have some great results, but come on… meditation multitasking? Talk about an oxymoron.
My favorite ways to slow down mostly involve the outdoors and nature. Cycling is the most zen activity I can imagine. Everything is just flowing and I feel like a kid again. Running is also a great way to quiet my mind, although lately when I run my body is screaming so loudly that my quiet mind is lost. Swimming is a great way to slow down and be still inside. The water drowns out most noises and you’re enveloped in a very womblike state. Even if you’re not into physical activities, meditation is the perfect way to still the mind. You can do it almost anywhere, too. I’ve made it through many an international flight with screaming babies and drunk businessmen by putting on the noise-cancelling headphones and eyemask and pulling my hoodie over my head and just turning inwards.
When we slow down, we become more aware. We become more responsible for our actions. We participate more deeply in our lives. We appreciate what we have instead of constantly yearning for the past or the future. Slowing down and embracing stillness is effectively the fountain of youth, a way of making this short life ours seem longer and more fulfilling. Put that way, why wouldn’t you try?