6 TD 200320 Slow Down 

200320 Slow down

Slow down
A while ago, sitting in a peaceful spot in a secluded area of Wales, I chose to think about nothing except what I could sense around me for one hour. For someone who likes being busy and active, that was a challenge. I made myself comfortable, sat as still as I could and then started to engage with my surroundings. I did allow myself a scratch or two as itches tend to shout at you when you try to ignore them.
At first it was all about what I saw with my eyes, lush green vegetation with flitting birds. This was followed quickly by what I could hear, the birdsong, the stream and my breathing. Next I noticed the fresh smell of the stream and the alternating chill and warmth of the air on my face. The verse ‘Taste and see that The Lord is good’ came to mind. I can hardly say that I was caught up into heaven, but the phrase ‘on earth as in heaven’ became real in that hour. It wasn't easy to be so still, but it was worth it. Perhaps in the time of isolation and distancing we might have time to be perfectly still, hear every sound, engage our senses, then slow down enough to leave that behind and know the presence of God within.
The bigger challenge comes on re-entry to the rush of life. Could I stop and pause to be mindful of the world around me, even for 120 seconds? Yes, I could and probably should. However, it is a decision to be made. St Paul invites us to similarly focus our minds. ‘Sisters and brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable… think about such things… and the God of peace will be with you’ Philippians 4v8-9. It is worth it.
Graeme Skinner