Slowing Down

by Friends of Godwin


You can sustain awareness just by slowing down. As you know, when we move in a very fast vehicle we are not able to notice the things that are around us. If you want to see your surroundings very sharply, very clearly, then the vehicle has to go very slowly. So it’s only when we can really slow down that we can see very sharply, very clearly, what is happening in our mind and body from moment to moment. In the same way, we can notice external things very sharply and clearly.

Related to this, one thing which we can discover with more and more awareness and slowing down is the intention that arises before doing something. We do things so quickly, so fast, that we hardly catch ourselves intending to do it. And with more and more observing the intention, you will realise that there is more and more awareness, so there is a connection between observing the intention and the practice of awareness.

And catching our intention has very important implications, so that we will not rush into things, especially in everyday life. Before we speak, if we can catch ourselves with whatever we were going to say, I think we will not hurt others and we will not be using our speech in an unwholesome or unskilful way.

In the same way before we act, if we can pause and try to see the intention why we want to do a particular thing, there again there can be a natural transformation in our action. On one occasion the Buddha was speaking to his son Rahula. The Buddha asked his son: What is the purpose of a mirror? And the little boy said the purpose of a mirror is to reflect. So the Buddha said that in the same way we should reflect about our speech and about our actions before doing them. But to exercise this reflection there has to be awareness and there has to be a pause.