In her latest newsletter, our editor, Medha Shri, gave us a new word: Susegad. This is a Goan word referring to a state of peace, contentment and unhurriedness.
This word really works for me as it addresses my biggest weakness. I am very skilled at making mistakes, due to a lifetime of intense practice. Almost all my mistakes are made when I am in a hurry and act on impulse. Sometimes, I react too quickly to a post in WhatsApp; a few minutes later I have regrets. It’s the same thing in conversations: I regret what I said five minutes ago.
Once upon a time, I volunteered to book some train tickets for my sister-in-law-law and her husband, for a journey from Bengaluru to New Delhi. I was very quick in filling out the forms very quickly and got everything right except the date. When my sister-in-law and her husband reached the station, they found that the train had left the day before.
It’s not the only time; hasty actions have created trouble for me. Sometimes, during social events, I get into a heated discussion, and my wife has to nudge me gently to stop talking. I also read about the 10 second rule: when discussions get heated, wait ten seconds before saying anything.
Slow down, it solves problems.
We have been polluting our rivers, our soil, our oceans and our skies for quite a while. If anything, the pace has quickened in recent years, in spite of the growth in cleaner technologies. Wouldn’t we be much better off if we slowed down?
When I look at our environmental problems, the root cause seems very clear: too much consumption of goods and too much production. The more we produce, the more waste we generate. We can blame it on the government or the industry, but the problem lies with us.
So does the solution.
Can we just slow down just a little? By all means, buy the latest and the greatest mobile phone, but only if the old one is worn out, or giving trouble. Do not buy a mobile device just because the newest model has a few more cameras and, supposedly, takes better picture. The old, discarded mobile device will end up in a landfill, somewhere on planet earth.
When we go on-line shopping, is it really necessary to buy six sets of clothes, keep one, and return the rest? Just remember, the returns can end up in a garbage dump or a landfill. For low value items, the on-line seller often finds it cheaper to dump the goods than to inspect them properly before re-stocking.
A friend of mine, who lives in Australia, recently bought a pair of overalls from a retail store. They didn’t fit right, so he traded them in for the correct size at the store. After this transaction was complete, the salesgirl asked if he would like to keep the original overalls, at no cost. It would cost her more, she said, to process them and get them cleaned up for re-stocking. If the store kept the overalls, they would simply be thrown away.
Just slow down.
Think before you buy anything and buy it if you really need it. We live in a throw-away culture right now. It’s easy to mass produce cheap goods that don’t last very long and are discarded quickly. If anything, it keeps up the demand for new products. India was immune to this throw-away economy a few years back, but now we are rapidly catching up with the rest of the world.
Be a savvy buyer. Just buy what you need and buy it for the long haul. We have a perfect role model for this: Om Swami ji himself, who gets by with a minimal set of clothes. Yet, he always looks radiant and full of life.
A very wise man said that we are racing towards our death from the day we are born. Why not slow down a little, why are we in such a hurry to get there? Slow down our breath to increase our lifespan. It is said that we are born with a fixed number of breaths. We can take them slow or fast, it’s entirely our choice. What’s your hurry?
It’s the same with food. We can eat fast food, to get to the end a little faster. Or we can eat slow food, the way most traditional dishes are made. There is no need to cook a variety of dishes; just one or two cooked to perfection are more than enough. Eat this type of food very slowly, enjoying each bite, and listen to the stomach saying, “Thank You”.
Slow down the body. Do yoga, or any other form of exercise, slowly, with full concentration. Then relax in a comfortable posture, like Savasana, and observe the energy flow inside.
Slow down the mind. Any form of Sadhana, or meditation, essentially slows down the mind. Om Swami ji has given us such wonderful techniques for doing Sadhana, and each carry his blessings. Sit still, practice Sadhana, and all is bliss.
Do we need anything more in life?