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Monday, 07 November 2011 19:28

Phil Blog: View from the slow lane

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Ipod, Blackberry, TV, washing machine, car, PC, laptop – have many things in common but I have a thought that has troubled me this week. It’s a bit complex. It’s open-ended. And it might provoke me for a few more moments.

I always want these objects to go faster. I don’t like it when they go slow. I get frustrated when they take a little longer than I demand. They are designed to make my life ‘more stress-free’ but they fail. I find that many of these objects unfortunately add stress to my life.

I rely on my Blackberry to alarm me out of bed but last week it crashed in the middle of the night. That sparked chaos at 7am! My laptop decided to slow to a halt this week and my day’s work was thrown into a black hole.

More importantly, I think these highly developed machines seem to make me less human. Why do I need to go faster? What is the big rush? Is the end of the world approaching? What’s so amazing about getting things done quicker and also quicker than anyone else?

Isn’t it true that a slow-cooked curry is better than a 2-minute one? Isn’t a slow-cooked stew tasty? Having a bath isn’t quite so life-affirming if it’s quick. Even speeding up a conversation is mechanical and functional.

I am convinced that slowing my life down opens up my awareness of those around me – my wife, my son. It makes me a better listener. It makes me a more thoughtful speaker. It makes me a better teacher.

The psalmist said something which can seem quite bland and insipid, ‘Be still and know that I am God’ – it seems tame and featureless. But it’s not. The background is of war, stress, violence and intimidation. Into this comes the strategy – stillness and knowing. It certainly isn’t escapism. It’s a road for the brave warrior who wants to face the battle, who wants to remain victorious, who dares to believe there’s an alternative to speed.

So, slow down!

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