Where the astrology of the East meets the West
Welcome to 2008 where you can hear the refrain from Bob Dylanís The Times They Are A Changin' playing everywhere you go. There is fearful talk about some kind of a slow down, a down-turn, all seemingly nasty stuff as we all know, slow is bad. You have to ask yourselves: Do you really fear slowness?
We have become so enamored of fastness that we are urged to go faster and yet faster than any previous generation, as if fastness unto itself was a virtue. It is not, and I will remind you that speed kills. You might think I am just referring to driving past the speed limit, but I mean so much more. Sure, the faster you drive the more likely you will be killed in an accident, but also the faster you live the more quickly your life can become terminally accidental.
Even todayís drugs of choice are based on speed, such as methamphetamine, where the speeding up of time is valued as some kind of narcotic high. If you have ever witnessed the tragic pictures of the methamphetamine addicts before and after portraits, you will see that the speed-based drugs age them years in just a very short period of time. They have sped up their allotment of time and the consequences of speed burn out their existence at an ever quickening pace. Methamphetamine has become a national epidemic, but in many circles it receives little press, for are we not told to value all things sleek and fast?
The times value speed in reading, speed in dialing, speed in and on the Internet, speed in eating, speed in shock and awe warfare, and now there is even speed in dating, as if itís the quick fix to finding a relationship. Our culture so values speed it is no wonder that the drugs of choice for our children are drugs of velocity because that is what the changing times are reinforcing in this double-quick forced march to fastness. The speed-brokers have even sped up Daylight Savings time this year, as it will start a month earlier!
What is this obsession with speed and who does this speed really benefit? Speed by its very nature has to value quantity over quality. Yes, lip service is given to quality, but the real value lies in the increased quantity of the moment of time, rather than the increased quality of the moment of time.
The Yogis of India do not measure time in quantitative hours, minutes and seconds. India is a nation of Great Rivers so it likens time to the flow of water, just like desert nations liken time to the flow of sand in an hour glass, and sunny nations liken the flow of time to the movement of the sun vis-a-vis a sun dial, or its modern facsimile, a watch. Indiaís ancient time piece is a water clock and the foundational increment of time is called a prana, which translates to breath. The Yogis measure life in breaths, not in seconds. They further believe that a man, an elephant and a hamster all have the same amount of breaths, but they have differing life spans of time relative to how they spend their allotted breaths. I have never seen a Yogi who wanted to speed up the breath so he or she could live a hamster-like existence! The yogis rather want to slow the breath down so they can experience a deeper quality of existence and extend their allotment of time. I have seen realized Yogis who have been placed in a pressurized barometric chamber and are astoundingly able to keep a slow, natural flow of breath. Most people would go into a state of anxiety at just the thought! You see the yogis know that anxiety is characterized by the irregular quickening of the breath, and speed and its accompanying stress acutely challenge the natural breathing process. Therefore, according to yogic doctrine, the yogis believe that the being who breathes twice as fast will accordingly only breathe half as long.
Now you know what the yogis know. No need to panic, or smoke a cigarette to reduce the stress of this important realization. Just understand that smoking is nothing more than a prana breath break accompanied by expensive, addictive smoke. Take an inexpensive breath break and get accustomed to slow, natural breathing. You can start 2008 by deliberately embracing a slow-down in whatever fast burn dominates your life.
Take a Yoga class and learn to breath. Do not be afraid of the slow. It will rejuvenate you.
Catch your breath and embrace it for 2008. There is nothing to fear but fastness itself. Hurry up and slow it down.
The dates you selected for our wedding and reception couldnít have been more beautiful weather-wise and more joyous heart-wise. Everyone was happy, including relatives who came from afar. Your input is always so helpful, Dennis, a must when planning meaningful events of all kinds.
Erica Helm Meade, MA, CMHC