Proyecto Visión 21

What would happen to us if we reduce the speed of our life and begin to pay attention?

Francisco Miraval

It is said we should work to live and not just live to work. The first option looks better than the second one, but, in fact, in both cases “life” and “work” are always connected and they remain connected, as an increasingly complex puzzle we need to solve on the spot every day. So, what about a third option, living for a living?

This third alternative is unthinkable in the context of an extreme, dehumanizing, self-destructive society. That’s why we need it, but we don’t see it because we live hectic lives, or whatever is left of what once thought to be a true human life.

For example, I recently met a very successful person, with many awards on his desk and on his wall, including well-deserved national and international awards. He also frequently travels to some of the most interesting places in the world. However, he said, because he is always busy and seldom takes time to rest, he has paid a high price: he lost his family, his friends, and even his health.

This person enjoys a standard of living many of us can’t even dream, much even understand. However, he said, he wants to simply “reduce the speed” of his life, hoping that, in doing so, he could “remake” his life, that is, reconnecting with his family and friends, and perhaps develop new, long lasting, meaningful relationships.

That’s what he would like to do, but he can’t, because he lives trapped in a spider’s web of activities, meetings, trips, and events. So many things, in fact, he feels he is no living. He is inside an unstoppable whirlwind with no way out, spinning at top speed, with no time to enjoy life or to reflect about alternatives.

What would happen to this person if he could slow significantly the speed of his life? Let me tell you a true story. Many years ago, my car broke down and, because where I was and other circumstances, my only option was walking home, several miles away.

I knew that route very well because I drove there for years. Yet, that was the first time I walked along that road instead of driving. I soon discovered you can see many things when you are walking and not inside a car going 45 mph. In fact, that walk helped me to discover many things.

Suddenly, the route I thought I knew was different. Because I was walking, I was able to see wonderful garden I never noticed before. And I also saw previously unnoticed piles of trash. And there were small businesses I have never paid any attention before.

So, my slow speed allowed me to discover things I didn’t know. What would happen, then, if we decide to take different look to our mostly out-of-control lives? In other words, what would happen if we could see our life in slow motion?

This will happen: we will soon discover there is no movie, except the one created by our own mind. 

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