Slow down you’re doing fine. You can’t be everything you want to be before your time. – Billy Joel
Before you can step out of the rush and into your own life, you must first see that while anxious, hurried feelings often lend a temporary sense of self-importance, these same racing emotions actually rob you of the power you need to be self-commanding. A brief investigation will confirm this finding.
Self-command begins with being able to choose your own direction in life. And whether you’re caught in the raging current of a white-water river, or being swept along by a flood of invisible thoughts and feelings, one fact remains: Like it or not, you’re going where that current goes. You have no real choices as long as you’re under its influence.
That’s why learning to step out of the rush is the same as learning how to step into your own life. Allow the exercise described below to show you that your real nature never feels the need to rush any more than an eagle would try to swim across a lake to get to the other side.
Here’s the challenge. Rushing thoughts and anxious feelings are invisible to you because each time they begin to race; you start to run with them.
And after so many years of being carried along in this psychic slipstream, you’ve come to believe that either you are these surging inner currents, or that their power is yours. Neither case is true. You are not these waves of thought any more than a cresting tide is the entire ocean.
Author Vernon Howard offers us this emphatic instruction to help strengthen our resolve to stop this mad dash to nowhere: “Slow down. Relax. Dare to deliberately defy those inner screams that demand you rush nervously around. Instead, obey another quiet voice that assures you that the casual life is the truly powerful and efficient life.”
Now here’s the solution in exercise form that will help you to slow down your life. Beginning this very moment, intentionally separate yourself from any rushing inner condition by voluntarily stepping out of it. How can this be done? Purposefully slow yourself down by acting to consciously reduce your usual speed.
Here are several suggested ways to guarantee a good start:
- At fifty percent your normal gait, walk over to get your cup of coffee.
- Try reaching for the phone, your glass of water or your pen at seventy-five percent your normal speed.
- Drive the speed limit (at all times) but especially when late for an appointment.
One practice I find particularly profitable, at home and in business, is to always pause a few seconds before I answer someone’s question. This special conscious pause for self-awakening is invaluable because, as the old saying goes, “Only fools rush in!”
Whatever the occasion may be, choose the time and place to slow down, and then practice stepping out of the rush. Here’s the secret behind how this unique exercise delivers new self-command: Slowing down helps you become aware of yourself in a new and higher way by creating contrast between your usual speed through life and your now selectively slower one.
This enhanced self-awareness empowers you to step out of the rush of your own surging thoughts and feelings by making you conscious of their flooding presence within you as being something that doesn’t belong to you. Once this is clear, then you can choose your own direction in life.
Step out of the rush by slowing down. Do it now.
Guy Finley is the acclaimed author of more than 30 books and audio programs on the subject of self-realization. Finley is the founder and director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for self-study located in Southern Oregon where he gives talks four times each week. Visit www.guyfinley.org for a wealth of free helpful information, free audio and video downloads.