Puttin’ On The Brakes

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By Russian artist Nicolas Roerich (1874–1947): “Battle in Heaven,” 1912

There is perhaps another reason we are witnessing so much pain in the world today. The entire species is deeply into a transition period from a fear-based world to a love-based one.

It is recorded in the prophecies of many indigenous people and now we are here.

During this time, Babylon — the exploitive, greed-based, unconscious 5000-year-old system that has spread across the planet — is now both being revealed and trembling on the verge of collapse — environmentally, socially, financially, spiritually. Apocalypse means “revealed from behind the veil.” — Robert Roskind

Most problems in the West come from not knowing how to stop. Of not knowing what to do when we’re not doing anything. Remember that precisely we created that artificial separation between,. ′′ LEISURE ′′ and ′′ BUSINESS ′′ nec-otium =no leisure. We live like the donkey behind the stick with the carrot, -; we are promised that if we strive a little harder -; we will reach a reward and be happier — but upon reaching a certain age we realize it was a lie. That’s why a majority of people in our society get depressed as they grow old, because they have lived a farce.

And so we live in a short circuit of chronic anxiety, not knowing how to stop without feeling guilty.
And so we project that guilt in towns that still know how to stop and shame them by calling them lazy and cruelly say they deserve to be poor.

Jorge Pineda

One of the major adjustments you have to make when you live in the old world is how to slow down. Quick and easy is not a virtue in most of the world. The attractions of slow living pulled me toward France, but it could have been any number of older cultures. The Slow Food movement started in Italy, for example. The mad rush to work and “get ahead” looks ridiculous to people who know how to take their time and savor the moment.

In my lifetime I have seen the pace of living pick up to the point where you hardly have time to eat and sleep. Every moment is filled with purposeful activities. We multitask, we accumulate assets and possessions, we worry about falling behind as if we’re in some kind of race against every other human being. We’re always measuring our status and progress against our society’s ready made yardsticks.

This inhumane system is installed in us as children so that it seems inborn and natural. We become incapable of silence, of a quiet mind. Our noisy culture makes us noisy, cacophonous humans.

Seeing life with a meditative mind is rare in our part of the world.

Lazy people, otherwise known as poets and artists, insist upon taking their time to live the details consciously. They practice paying attention to nature, to the clouds in the sky, to the lilies in the field. Those who spin and toil look askance and call us shiftless, but we pay no mind. There is too much beauty abroad in the world.

We may struggle to answer that constant query, “Can you make a living doing that?” Especially since the answer is usually “No, I can’t”. The older you get the less you try to answer that question. The real question people are asking is how can one live a decent life if your focus is on intangibles like beauty and meaning. And also, what do you see there? How can you not be obsessed with money?

I don’t know how to answer those questions because I don’t know how to make myself understood by certain people. I have stopped feeling embarrassed by who I am. I know I was never meant to fit into the world as it is. All my travels were a search for a home. I had a natural attraction to the older, slower societies.

I’ve always felt an antipathy to the modern fast-paced world. I always gravitated to healthy slowness in living so that now, in our current imperative to slow down, I’m in my element. I do see, however, how much others are suffering from this slowdown, even if they retain an ability to make a living. They miss the adrenaline, the driven-ness, the momentum, the speed.

The sudden advent of slowness is not welcome to lots of folks, but it’s here and there’s something to be learned from it. Adapting to it is going to be more difficult for some than for others, but the world requires humans who can see and love it, which can’t be done if we’re on a constant racetrack. Only when we can live at the speed of natural life will we be able to partner with the life forces that sustain us.

It’s time to slow down.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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