Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Slowing Down

Since the passing of my father several days ago (it seems longer) I have had a chance to reflect on my life and where I go from here. My brothers and I are going through the process of making arrangements for the funeral and making decisions like what kind of flowers to have, what food to serve at the reception, and whether to speak at the funeral service or not. It seems like time has slowed to a crawl and every minute is filled with contemplation whereas in the past we all were going as fast as we could to somewhere. I definitely feel like I have come to a complete halt and looking around to see what direction I want to go in next. Being single and living in an apartment (my cave in the sky) gives me a lot of flexibility in that area. The main realization that I have come to is that I need to slow down and continue to spend as much time as possible in contemplation.

Now that I am old enough to understand on a conceptual level that I probably won’t live forever, I am considering how to slow the aging process and make this journey last a long as possible. This is a project that will require the participation of my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies, because aging accelerates when there is imbalance in these aspects of our life. I need to let go of the thoughts that bring suffering, to let go of the physical habits that bring pain, to let go of toxic emotions, and to remember to be grateful to the creator of it all.

I am also considering the concept of mindful awareness. This is the practice of being with full presence, to know exactly what I am doing, thinking, speaking and acting and the why for such behavior. When I walk, I no longer am going somewhere; I am walking. Perhaps I can say a prayer for the earth with each step. When I speak, I am no longer letting my mouth run away with me; I consider the effect of my words before they leave my mouth. I remember the teaching that whatever comes out of my mouth is much more important than what goes in it.

I enjoy being with myself more, where my pattern was to surround myself with people that may not have my best interests at heart. At this point in my life it is far better to get to know myself without interruption and to love myself unconditionally. It is much easier to be grateful for all that I have experienced than to have to forgive. Gratitude does not judge, there is no right or wrong. Forgiveness requires a judgment that something was wrong that has to be forgiven. So I focus in gratitude for my broken heart and the experiences that caused that gift of grace.

A great way of practicing grace is the Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono. When a problem arises, we say “I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.” When we focus on love and forgiveness, it doesn’t matter what we are experiencing in life. We may not have done anything to require forgiveness, but if we are experiencing pain or suffering of any kind I have found that these simple words can bring peace and calmness back into my life. It is a way of slowing down and radiating peace and harmony into the world.

I also have been looking more at my patterns, both conscious and subconscious. I am better off not being around people while I do this. I can get distracted by other people and as I slow down and start to apply a more mindful approach to my life, I need to focus as much as possible on cleaning up what I am responsible for. I am starting to really enjoy sitting in meditation and contemplation more often than not. I tend to cause less trouble that way.

I am grateful for my aloneness. I am grateful for my friends. I am grateful for those people who do not act kindly to me. I am grateful for my parents, may they rest in peace. I am grateful that I no longer have to subconsciously compare myself to the standards of my parents. I am grateful that I am good enough. I am grateful for needing less and enjoying less more. I am grateful for those who think I am an ass. I am grateful for those who think I am a saint. They are both right. I am grateful that I have nowhere to go except Dewachen. Perhaps I am becoming a more balanced, younger person. I am grateful to have the awareness to contemplate all of these things.