As I walk along the street I turn to notice a series of lowered heads. It could almost pass for a collective slumber; the world has (literally) fallen asleep. Perhaps the afternoon siesta has hit the western world? But, of course not, it’s just texting. Thumbs are going full speed ahead, clicking in code, texting in icons and smilies. I also see eyes glued to iPads, minds linked to cyber space. I contemplate on societies or individuals without access to the web. I wonder what it must be like for them not owning a cell phone, a computer, or some technical device. I reflect further feeling the increasing distance between those people and communities. Most people I know rely on the internet, yet I do know some who don’t (intentionally). There are also a vast amount who don’t unintentionally. I have come to realise that social media and the internet for some has become an addiction. In fact, it has developed into a serious issue. Human beings are linked through energy more so than ever, via these channels, yet there is still a deep unconsciousness about this area of existence.
I continue to walk past most people attached to a device of some sort, talking to it, through it, at it, with it. I feel as though time is on fast forward around me, it almost seems like a blur as I slow down inside my own space. I order a chai and I find that even when I move my arm to take a sip, it seems like an eon passes for the cup to reach my lips. I taste an earthy honey merged with spices and a faint hint of vanilla. I am aware of all my senses.
Anxiety and stress are some of the most common issues I hear when people come to an appointment. It often takes a lot of time and effort to be able to let go and surrender. The Hare to me represents the pace of modern times; do more, be more, go faster, I want, I should, you should, we all should. I want it yesterday! Instant gratification. Addiction. Reward is given when “it” (whatever ‘it’ is, usually reaching a goal) is achieved in the quickest manner possible. The faster the better, because the Western world is a consumer society that has gotten very demanding and greedy. This promotes competition and comparison and is something we are fed very early in life. The Hare also has a bit of an inflated ego. He thinks he’s stronger, superior and embodies arrogance.
I see both the Hare and Tortoise inside every human being and it is magnified in Western culture. I relate more to the Tortoise personally because I was taught that doing something well was more important than doing it quickly (or half-assed). It’s better to lay a stable, balanced and secure foundation rather than look good doing it. It’s almost like a theatre set, where the façade looks spectacular, yet it is only a prop for the stage. The substance is the energy, the feelings, the rawness of the performance. If I cannot reach my audience or touch the hearts of those who showed up, then both you and I will be left feeling disheartened.
I notice a particular tree swaying gently in the wind. The leaves flutter slightly. The tree is in no hurry to go anywhere or become anything. The breeze and the leaves almost become one yet they are defined at the same time. A perfect union. No one controlling the other, just a synchronistic dance of no effort. I reached for my cell phone and looked it over for a moment. I remembered an elder some time ago pointing to the trees, the rocks and then a lamp post then the concrete pathway saying, “you and I and all these things, even the man-made things, we are all made up of the same stuff”. I remember his round cheeks and dark eyes.
I reflect deeper. What would happen if everyone on the planet stopped doing for a moment. What if each human turned to another human being and said… Hi. I see you. I hear you. Your presence matters in the world. What if we focused on just one breath. Feeling life enter our lungs and feeling the air leave the body again. A miracle of existence. I’m alive! You’re alive! How blessed am I? To be alive! To write these words. To connect to you.
I feel the wisdom of this moment and know that there is no race that I’m running. No competitors. No one to compare myself to. That is an illusion. If I give attention to what is happening inside of me, and what is happening inside of others - to listen well, I am being fully present right now.
Have you ever been emotionally charged having received an email or text that was less than desirable? Once I almost walked into a pole. I was not being present to what is happening around me, only the intensity of my emotion. This is the scattered energy of the Hare.
It was a good reminder to let go and do the things necessary to return to stillness. Taking the time to do this brings me back to the awareness that I am not these emotions. I am experiencing them, yet it is not necessary to run around frantically. It will achieve nothing. In fact, the only thing it will achieve is more anxiety and stress.
There is a lot of mockery around people who are perceived as ‘slow’ in the western culture. In school, it is interpreted as there is something wrong with that student. Everybody has different styles of learning and different ways of navigating through life.
Being able to remain connected to the stillness inside also connects one to synchronicity. Even in chaos. Riding the waves becomes a skill because chaos is a natural part of life. When I am in this peaceful place, my relationship to others and my environment is like the wind in those leaves; everything is connected, yet defined at the same time. Unity. Nature remembers, now it’s in our hands as human beings to remember.
I become aware of my cell phone again and smile. It is made up of the same essence as all other things. I am not attached to it though. It’s an object. It doesn’t hold any power other than what I give it. It’s like a lot of things really. Like fear - fear only exists when it is inside of me.
Behind the bravado, behind the Hare’s impatience and need to look good and be flashy, is unconsciousness. He misses things. He isn’t paying attention to the little things. He misses messages, the more subtle energies around him that hold immense wisdom. He is disconnected to why he took the journey in the first place. He’s gotten caught up in “stigmas” and “should’s” and egoism. He’s forgotten to just be himself. Sometimes the Hare aspect of me enjoys a faster pace, especially in business, yet instead of being self-absorbed, I choose to act with presence, where I’m conscious of other’s needs too. Some may take a slower pace, while others are at full speed. What will benefit all is finding a way to work together. Deep within me is a space where no time exists, there is no sense of pace at all and there is no need or desire to be attached to ‘getting it done’ or wanting something yesterday. Things occur at the right time and right place. Forcing it will only cause upset. The Tortoise in me is pretty strong. It is quite content observing and being. Exploring things to deep levels is what it does and sitting in a particular space for a period of time. Time is irrelevant in this space and the Tortoise is aware of it… and it keeps on going. There’s awareness of what is happening around me, there’s awareness of others. I’m noticing the subtleties, the energies and things that seem so tiny, yet bring incredible joy to my being. I’m allowing the moment to unfold, yet I am also very focused and very present. I’m laying down a sound foundation, that I come to feel and experience very well. I do not worry what I look like, because there will be moments where I look at my worst, yet, I feel alive and I am not attached or consumed by what others may think. I am connected to a deep sense of gratitude. I am alive. I am here, sharing this with you. How lucky am I.
Written by Laura Naomi
© Laura Naomi 2018
Soulful Living Blog