‘Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment.’ ~Thich Nhat Hanh
As we enter the holiday season, our congregation will focus on a radical, countercultural theme for December: simplicity and slowing down. The uberculture asks us to do more and more, to “get and spend”, as Wordsworth wrote – over 300 years ago. Instead, this month at the UU we will focus on the ways we can tune in to what is essential.
I am currently enjoying a book called The Power of Less by Zen teacher Leo Babauta. In it he suggests 10 ways we can slow things down, a practice vital for our mental and spiritual health this season. Here are four of his thoughts:
Do less. Focus on what’s really important, what really needs to be done, and let go of the rest. Put space between tasks and appointments, so you can move through your days at a more leisurely pace. Read more.
Be present. It’s not enough to just slow down — you need to actually be mindful of whatever you’re doing at the moment. This takes practice but is essential.
Disconnect. Don’t always be connected. If you carry around an iPhone or Blackberry or other mobile device, shut it off. Better yet, learn to leave it behind when possible. It’s hard to slow down when you’re always checking new messages coming in.
Eat more slowly. Instead of cramming food down our throats as quickly as possible — leading to overeating and a lack of enjoyment of our food — learn to eat slowly. Be mindful of each bite. Appreciate the flavors and textures.
Friends, these are busy times; the holidays can be joyful but also stressful. Join us at services this month and touch in to what is essential! In a crazy world, as it seems to be sometimes, being with community in quieter contemplation can help to create peace.
Rabbi Chava Bahle
The Common Heart: Spiritual Paradigm Shift; Rabbi Chava Bahle at TEDxTraverseCity 2014
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Grand Traverse
6726 Center Rd.
Traverse City, MI 49686
231-947-3117 (office) 231-947-0726 (fax)