We live in a world of hustle bustle and many people still insist on eating and talking at the same time. Meditation and yoga make it possible to slow down and breathe. Learn some priceless wisdom on how to live simply and slow down.
With all the hustle bustle and constant activity in the western world, I wonder how I’m able to get anything done and maintain a nature-supportive way of life. Eight years ago several things occurred in my life at the same time. In addition to adapting a plant-based diet and natural living way of life, I began to study ayurveda, an ancient science started in ancient India. Ayurveda is sanskrit (ancient Hindu language), which means science of life. Many people aren’t familiar with this science because it is primarily studied and practiced in ancient regions of India. People in the west who have adapted a natural living lifestyle also practice it. Although it is a science that is becoming more recognized and accepted by conventional medicine, there are still a lot of people who downplay its benefits and have little or no respect for it.
The need for ayurveda and living a more nature-supportive way of life is obvious. People spend more than half their waking hours running around, multi-tasking, doing several things at once, and becoming totally “deranged” (crazy, out of your mind). A lot of eastern philosophers use this term to describe a society that’s gotten totally out of control. The Hopi Indian people have another word for this, and that is koyaanisqatsi. Koyaaniskatsi means life out of balance. There is a wonderful documentary on video available in libraries and metaphysical bookstores that illustrates the concept beautifully without dialogue. Koyaanisqatsi is the only word spoken throughout the documentary. Life out of balance, deranged, whatever word, phraseology or expression you use, the idea is the same. Most people in the western world don’t know how to and don’t like to slow down and breathe. There’s an ancient Chinese saying that “we are human beings not human doings”. This means that we are not meant or supposed to run ourselves ragged and do so many things so that we are in constant action. We need to take a breath and count to ten frequently and stop. The lack of this is the main reason many people get into accidents and have injuries and develop illnesses.
There is nothing that is worse for the mind, body, and spirit than running around like a crazy person and pushing yourself way beyond your limits. I’m not saying that a little challenge now and then and stretching yourself to try new things isn’t healthy. But at the risk of driving yourself insane and trying to be someone you’re not is simply nonsensical and doesn’t hurt anyone but yourself. No one is going to benefit from your pushing yourself too hard. The end result is being forced to be bedridden for a long duration of time. I was one of those people under the false belief that the more you get done in one day or week the more successful and respected you’ll be. I’d go to several stores in one day, carry several packages, and be in constant activity until I was ready to pass out at the end of the day. This turned me into a nervous wreck. I was miserable and no one wanted to be around me. I couldn’t blame them because I was behaving as though I was on massive caffeine and sugar and my jitters were out of control.
A perfect example of this was yesterday. My husband and I were getting ready to go catch the local little city bus to go to a certified farmer’s market. I was getting myself together, gathering the belongings we needed to take with us. I was in the kitchen, juicing some oranges, and I was going to show him something in the refrigerator. My mind wandered for one moment and I became disoriented and forgot what I wanted to do. When I opened the refrigerator door, it hit my forehead very hard and stunned myself. It hurt, but mostly shocked me. After I applied some ice, we looked at each other and both said I needed to slow down. There is no doubt in my mind that if I had been focusing on one thing at a time and breathing more and going at a more relaxed pace, I would not have hurt myself and we would not have had to rush out the door. Unfortunately, most people suffer from this custom every day of their lives and the result is never painless.
In the documentary, koyaanisqatsi, the videographer shows how simplicity is in serious lack from our lives and it’s killing us. It starts out in the desert somewhere in America, showing absolute nothingness. It then graduates to oil rigs appearing, buildings popping up, and then takes the viewer to the inner city where hoards of people run around like ants, with no awareness of the surrounding environment or others crossing paths with them. I saw this video ten years ago and I was stunned. At first, I wanted to laugh at the absurdity of what I was seeing. But then I felt sad and anxious because it was such an unhealthy site. How can anyone possibly think they’re going to improve their life or make any progress by behaving in this manner? Even insects have some form of organized communication and activity. They don’t run around, falling over each other, and running into other living things. At the rate this society is going, if we don’t change our ways and raise our consciousness and rethink the way we do things, we’re going to crash and burn and we’re going to have to start all over again.
There is a movie with Kurt Russell, entitled, “Escape from L.A.” This movie shows all the modern technology and all the amazing gadgets and machinery that is current and being used. The lengths these people go to in order to accomplish their tasks and eliminate the hero (Russell) and teach him a lesson is ridiculous and too dependent on technology. In the climax, there’s a point where you think they have him backed against the wall and there’s no escape. He holds up a gadget that shoots a laser, and creates a hologram to throw them off track. They shoot him with a high-powered weapon, thinking they’ve killed him, but learn that he’s nowhere in sight. The camera pans to a location much further away, showing him standing with a smug look on his face. He then presses another button on this device, and in a momentary flash, everything and everybody disappears and he’s left standing in the middle of a desert of rocks and mountains. He then says, “well, back to square one”. I can’t quote it exactly, but the idea is what’s important. This is what’s going to happen if people don’t change their ways. They’re going to crash into a wall and we’re all going to go back to the cave. I’m sure very few people want this. I know I don’t. I’d be happy returning the ways of the 1800’s and “living simply so others may simply live”, as Gandhi said.