Over the past few years, this is a question I have asked myself again and again. I have been driven by schedules, by others' needs, and by work requirements (work that I love, I might add) increasingly as these years unfold. I suspect it is
an effect of aging, and I am sure that I cannot do in a single day what I used to do, and more, ten years ago. So something in my unconscious wants to push and push to get things done, and it is not working.
My way of recognizing this inner demand is
to stop as often as I can in the run of a day when I feel the pressure. This is not as often as you might think. But very slowly, I am recognizing those moments even when I can't stop to listen, remembering them at odd times of the day and stopping then.
"What is stopping?" you might ask. On the outer level, it is really just that: I stop. I stop physically doing what I was doing, or - on an inner level - I stop thinking/feeling/doing and shift into receiving, opening, and surrender, The bridge to shifting
is breathing in and out, with all my attention going to that automatic activity. It works. Even a few seconds of paying attention to breathing gives the mind a break you can recognize and experience, even if the next second I am off again, taken prisoner by
a thought, rushing forward to meet this demand or another.
Mark Nepo, whose reflections I value as most practical, says "that the doorway to our next step pf growth is always behind the urgency of now...and when feeling urgent, you must slow down...when
feeling like I can't sit still, I need, more than ever, to sit still."
Here's the thing: almost nothing is that urgent. What is more urgent now is the shifting into a receptive mode, into being, rather than doing. Enter contemplation.