Sunday, July 30, 2017

Slowing down: Set priorities and reduce stress

Eknath Easwaran

Simplify your life so that you do not try to fill your time with more than you can do. Start by listing your activities. Then prune the list, striking out anything that is not truly necessary and anything that is not beneficial. Set priorities and reduce stress and friction caused by hurry.

In today’s speeded-up ways of working and living, slowing down is an important spiritual discipline. In the modern world we are conditioned to live faster and faster with no time for inner reflection or sensitivity to others. We are only beginning to see that speed makes our lives tense, insecure, inefficient, and superficial.

It is not enough to talk about this; we must learn to slow down the pace of our lives. To do this it is a great help to start the day early; that is how you set the pace for the day. Have your meditation as early as possible. Don’t rush through breakfast. Allow enough time to get to work without haste. At any time during the day when you catch yourself hurrying, repeat the mantram to slow down.

In order to slow down, it is necessary to gradually eliminate activities outside your job and family responsibilities which do not add to your spiritual growth. At first you may feel at a loss for what to do with your newfound extra time. What we lose in activity we gain in intensity by learning to rest content on each moment. The English poet John Donne says, “Be your own home and therein dwell.” We can find our centre of gravity within ourselves by simplifying and slowing down our lives.

It is essential not to confuse slowness with sloth, which breeds procrastination and general inefficiency. In slowing down, attend meticulously to details, giving the very best you are capable of even to the smallest undertaking.

Source: Eknath Easwaran (1910-1999) is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, California, and the author of 40 uplifting books on spiritual living.


  1. Wonderful. I'd forgotten the Donne words. So good. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Nan. You're most welcome. I have been reading — and somewhat trying to follow — Eknath Easwaran's teachings for the past two decades. He has a solution for nearly every so-called problem that ails us. And, I agree, his writing is "wonderful".