Recently I was listening to Joseph Goldstein, co-founder and guiding teacher at Insight Meditation Society. He was talking about practicing an effective daily life practice which focuses on noticing the feeling and energy of rushing.
I reflected on how some people appear to be present and yet internally their thoughts are somewhere else, often not with the person they are spending time with. Where were they rushing too, what was so important they were not able to be connected to themselves or those around them.
I would like to share Joseph Goldstein’s practice with you. First, I would like to ask, “How often do you feel you are rushing?” Rushing to the shops, to meet a friend, to complete an assignment? Often, we are not even aware we are rushing, because we are so immersed in our thoughts or activity that the energy of rushing carries us along. How often are we with someone yet thinking about being somewhere else, or doing something else? Our minds, rushing along to the next event.
Joseph Goldstein invites people to start to notice their feelings and the energy connected to rushing. If we begin to get ahead of ourselves, we can feel as if we are toppling forward. I think of it as if we are tripping over internally. This also lets us become aware we are not in the present moment.
Acknowledge the feeling and energy of rushing and then take a moment to pause, in this pause, settle back into your body, when you resume your activity, you will be doing this from a place of balance. The feeling of toppling will have gone.
Sometimes people are not sure what it means to settle back into the body. Often at the start of a meditation, Joseph Goldstein will say ‘sit and know you are sitting’. This is a helpful way to connect with your body. Are you able to feel your back against the chair, your thighs against the seat of the chair, your feet on the floor? Another way he suggests is ‘breathe in and know you are breathing in, breathe out and know you are breathing out’. How aware are you of the breath you inhale and exhale?
Something that struck me was how he points out the difference between moving quickly and rushing and how helpful it is to know the difference. We can move quickly and know we are moving quickly, being connected with our body and focused on the present moment. When we are rushing, as mentioned earlier, we may have a sense of toppling forward, tripping over internally, the energy of rushing propelling us forward.
Equally, we may also be ‘rushing’ when moving slowly, we are not centred within our bodies. We are not balanced. Imagine a spirit level, we would not be centred if we were ‘rushing’.
As you enter the festive season and move in to the new year, I would invite you to notice the feeling and energy that arises when you are rushing, when you notice this energy, pause, then settle back into your body. Once you begin this practice, over time, you will start to feel more connected with yourself and with those around you.
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