I like to remember what Steven Covey, one of the most influential Management gurus of the twentieth century, called as the ‘law of the farm’ where things happen slow and organically. You plant the seeds, wait for the rain, then harvest, and eventually get the produce at the right time. But we are used to quick results. We study last minute, cram the answers and forget them immediately after we reproduce them on the exam paper. He refers to this as ‘law of exam’- Instant gratification is the norm today, and slow and introspective living has attained a disapproving connotation.
Therefore it requires courage to admit you need a break. Self-compassion is the need of the hour. It’s likely that if you admit your inability to attend a social function because of some office deadline, you’d be pardoned. But if you were to say that’s your weekly off day, when you spend time alone with nature, you may attract scornful censure. But save yourself, now! To slow down is not a weakness, rather as a wise person said it aptly, “An unhurried sense of time is in itself a form of wealth.”
During the last days of World War II, American President Franklin Roosevelt died and Harry Truman succeeded him amidst great uncertainty of the war. He saw through the Allied victory: Germany’s defeat and Japanese unconditional surrender. Amidst the intense stress, he remained calm. When a reporter asked him how he maintained his cool, he replied, “I have a foxhole in my mind”. Soldiers retreat into ditches dug on the war field, called foxholes, to get some breathing space. Truman said he too would often enter a ‘mental foxhole’ where he allowed nothing to bother him.
3. A Spiritual process
“If you burn the candle at both ends, you may not be as bright as you think” – Herbert Prochnow (Author of popular books on public speaking)
Most spiritual practitioners fix quality time into their everyday to enter their ‘foxholes’. Here they connect to God and to the self. They pray, chant and hear scriptures. This gives them the strength to face the day’s challenges. By the time the issues swell up to weaken them, another day has begun, and it’s once again time for the spiritual recharge.To be continued…