A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a coffee seller.
Try our special blend, uniquely designed to bring out smooth flavour in a slow-brewed filter serve.
It reminded me of the importance of slowing down.
Maybe you’re already a part of the slow life movement. Even so, you may also be aware, it’s not so easy to slow down as you might wish.
What is it to live slowly?
Most of us have heard of the slow living movement, but what is it to live slowly in the context of a minimalist life?
The moment we reduce our life down to the essential, we ready ourselves for this practice of slowing down.
When we lighten our load, we could opt to use that lightness to walk faster through life.
But what if instead, we use it as an opportunity to walk more slowly?
What if, instead of racing, packing our lightweight life, to the next destination, the next thing, the next event, we slow down?
In slowing down, we bring depth to our life. Instead, so many of us have been skimming through the moments of our life. Leaving little more than a trail of snapshots on Instagram, we barely have given a second thought to it.
What does a slower life look like?
It looks like that of the great sages, the masters and monks of Zen and other wisdom traditions.
It looks like a meaningful life, a mindful life, a life lived with awareness.
In slowing down, we inhabit the present moment. We create time and space to live fully in the presence of being.
Life is a fast flowing river at the best of times. As we age, that river appears to flow faster. Past is downstream, future is upstream, but all we actually have is this present, ever- flowing moment.
How strange that the inspiration for sharing this wisdom on the art of slowing down might come from that pinnacle of the fast life—coffee. It’s evidence that we can find inspiration for the minimalist life anywhere.
Wisdom of the sages
Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh tells us:
If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying your cup of tea. You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone. Life is like that.
He’s telling us to slow down, to pay attention. He’s advising us to forget about the past, and cease being concerned with the future. He tells us to give our fullest attention to the living present moment.
We can only do that by slowing down.
By slowing down, we reduce the input and output of our life. In doing this, we effectively slow the flow of the river.
When we slow down enough to pay full attention to our life, we don’t miss this precious moment. This eternal present moment is a seam of diamonds. We mine those diamonds through paying attention.
Would you not trade the fast life for the seam of diamonds beneath your feet? If only for a moment?