Sometimes, even in meditation, I feel I’m in a hurry! I’m glad, of course, that life is so full – of people, and poetry, and new every morning beauty, and the hundred thousand little things that make up our days and weeks and months and years. Glad that time doesn’t drag. And yet, I need to slow down if I’m to be fully awake, alive and aware. I need to slow down enough to notice.
So I slowed my stride this morning. Awakened by bracing cold morning air, I was enthralled by the unique formation of ice crystals on a field gate. Alive, I marvelled at the wonder of it and tasted a few flakes on my tongue. Aware, and stock still, I saw the woodpecker a fraction of a second before I heard the knocking, loud enough to fill the forest and maintain my slower pace homeward.
In an instant I was no more than a couple of feet from another’s brush with death this afternoon. A passenger in a stationery car, in a traffic-jammed city, I was stunned by the speed with which another car came roaring out of the blue, wrenching a modern-day unicycle-form-of-transport (I don’t know what they’re called) out from under the feet of its rider – who, thankfully, was thrown in one direction whilst the whatever-it’s-called was pulled under the car. Screeching, anger, ashen faces, dozens of startled onlookers. In a tiny fraction of an instant it could have been catastrophically different. Shattered husbands, wives, children, parents, friends, gathered around the catastrophes of mere instants. Blame-apportionment at that stage becomes merely academic.
For pity’s sake, andante, andante, andante. Slow down. Nothing’s ever worth that kind of push and shove and risk and rush. Nothing.