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Letter to A Friend in A Hurry

--by Pierre Pradervand (Aug 11, 2009)


You are at a crossroads, sensing there are less worldly paths you can follow, paths that feed on profound inner peace, a more encompassing joy, ever-renewed freshness of vision and inspiration, a more rhythmic sense of quiet progression. There is, deep within you, a spring so pure, one cup of its clear waters will refresh you more than all the soda fountains of the world.

For twenty nine years I lived under the hour by hour pressure of time. Its shadows closed in on me – at work, at home, on outings, at mealtimes, everywhere. Then, one day I decided to abandon all this rushing and running. If I achieved a little less, never mind! What I achieved would at least be done with joy. There and then, I composed a little poem to put on my desk:

Spirit of Truth, I thank you
That I have an abundance of time
To accomplish all I need to do
Today
Calmly, peacefully
With unhurried grace

Within twenty four hours, twenty nine years of headlong rushing slipped off my shoulders like an old, tattered cloak, because I no longer clutched it around me.

No one can ‘be’ in a hurry, I mean ‘be’ in the sense of living from the centre of one’s real inner being. Once can either rush – or be. Never both at the same time. Most people in the West have decided to rush. It does not mean you have to follow the same path. You are the one who chooses. You make for yourself the life you wish to live. So take possession of your life.

Learn to posses all things – your time, your pace of work, your moments of rest, your privacy – all. Life gives us dominion. All we need to do is exert this dominion which is ours.

‘But how do I take possession?’, you may ask.

Realise in the stillness of your inner being that, despite any outward chaos, all ideas have an order. You are a thread in a universal weaving. It is like a Persian rug: on the back side of the rug, strands of wool hang in a mess; there are knots here, knots there – knots everywhere. But from above, what a pattern you see, what order. [...]

There is in us all a deep sea of calmness.

Rest therein.

Your friend, Pierre

--Pierre Pradervand, from 'Letter to A Friend in A Hurry'


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7 Previous Reflections:

 
On Aug 13, 2009 Somik Raha wrote:

Pancho,

Thanks for sharing about Meher Baba. I remembered a time when I was a kid, and was visiting my grandfather, he took me to a spiritual club he was part of in Kolkata, where they were discussing Meher Baba's philosophy. It struck me as incredible that someone would not speak for 30 years. At that meeting, someone claimed that Gandhiji had met Meher Baba on a ship when returning from the west, and was so impressed that he laid down one day of the week (was it Monday?) as his day of silence. 

Old memories came flooding back..

 



On Aug 13, 2009 Somik Raha wrote:

Upon reading this piece, I wondered who the friend in a hurry was. It was not until I meditated that this became clear. It was me - the friend in a hurry, who needed to hear this. What is funny is that until there was stillness in my heart, I could not see this. I loved the passage for its rich metaphors - it contains various powerful ides. A big idea is that we are all decision-makers, not to be tossed about by the sea of life, but in charge of ourselves, if only we take possession. Possession precedes attachment, and is closely related. Indeed, we keep hearing exhortations to detach, but detachment is a negative idea. It is much easier to attach to a higher ideal. And possession is a powerful tool to make that attachment happen. I choose to possess higher ideals, and the lower ones will fall by the wayside. Right now, I possess time, and am not in a hurry. When taken to love, I possess the ability to love much more than myself.  Finally, reading about stillness is one thi  See full.

Upon reading this piece, I wondered who the friend in a hurry was. It was not until I meditated that this became clear. It was me - the friend in a hurry, who needed to hear this. What is funny is that until there was stillness in my heart, I could not see this.

I loved the passage for its rich metaphors - it contains various powerful ides. A big idea is that we are all decision-makers, not to be tossed about by the sea of life, but in charge of ourselves, if only we take possession. Possession precedes attachment, and is closely related. Indeed, we keep hearing exhortations to detach, but detachment is a negative idea. It is much easier to attach to a higher ideal. And possession is a powerful tool to make that attachment happen. I choose to possess higher ideals, and the lower ones will fall by the wayside. Right now, I possess time, and am not in a hurry. When taken to love, I possess the ability to love much more than myself. 

Finally, reading about stillness is one thing, but when the experience of meeting others who come from this space is quite incredible. Friends of ours had brought their visiting parents over for dinner. My friend's wife remarked she couldn't believe that her in-laws were not bored AND not interested in watching TV. They were both content at enjoying the sunset in the lawn, without needing to even speak to each other. If you think they are from a different planet, they actually are. They are from a village in India, where stillness is still to be found as a norm and not the exception. After dinner, we went for a walk to the East-West bookstore on Castro, and I was pointing out the various Japanese and Chinese restaurants on each side, when suddenly, my friend's father stopped in his tracks with an exclamation, "My God! What a massive tree!" As I looked up, indeed, in front of City Hall was this remarkably tall tree, that I had never noticed before on Castro Street.

--- After Wednesday ----

An allied thought is about how I might escape the net of delusion that has been thrown on me. There are two ways - one is to shrink my ego to a miniscule level so I slip through the nets, and the other is to grow so large that the net cannot encompass me. The idea of possession belongs to the second approach - as the possessor of everything, I am attached to and the possessor of all there is. Once this idea settles in, I need nothing, and nothing can shake me. I am free to move amongst my possessions, as the need arises, without being tied down to any one. Perhaps being tied to all and tied to none are two sides of the same coin, as someone (I think Ketan) pointed out last night.

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On Aug 13, 2009 Pancho wrote:

My family calls me Pancho and I love you all... More than three thoughts/feelings came to mind/heart after reading the passage and listening to some of our siblings at the Mehta Kindness temple, but I'd love to share with you only 3: 1. Slow down, slow food, slow science. 2. A misconception about slowing down. 3. Beyond slowing down... 1. Slow down, slow food, slow science. No one likes to be rushed, to be treated rudely or belittled or ignored or disrespected. Everyone appreciates patience, kindness, generosity, forgiveness, courage and respect. No one likes to be rushed... neither Nature, our food nor true science. Now is the time to slow down, to take a pause, to rethink the purpose of science (Genetically Modified Organisms for profit and the destruction of our magnificent biodiversity? Atomic Bombs?) and education (for the corporatization of our society?) and to cultivate our critical thinking—and our critical feeling. It is time to combine science with the soul:  See full.

My family calls me Pancho and I love you all...

More than three thoughts/feelings came to mind/heart after reading the passage and listening to some of our siblings at the Mehta Kindness temple, but I'd love to share with you only 3:

1. Slow down, slow food, slow science.
2. A misconception about slowing down.
3. Beyond slowing down...

1. Slow down, slow food, slow science.

No one likes to be rushed, to be treated rudely or belittled or ignored or disrespected. Everyone appreciates patience, kindness, generosity, forgiveness, courage and respect.

No one likes to be rushed... neither Nature, our food nor true science. Now is the time to slow down, to take a pause, to rethink the purpose of science (Genetically Modified Organisms for profit and the destruction of our magnificent biodiversity? Atomic Bombs?) and education (for the corporatization of our society?) and to cultivate our critical thinking—and our critical feeling. It is time to combine science with the soul: science as the sustainable, collective and critical development of knowledge; soul as the individual (and collective) capacity to make wise use of that knowledge; ultimately, the ability to rejoice in the welfare of all living beings. Bertrand Russell echoed this postulation when he wrote:

“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.”

As a scientist, I am not against science. I am against the unethical applications of science. I represent a new generation that rescues the best of previous generations. Formed by millions of citizens of the World, this generation wants to be part of the mass that weighs on the positive side of the balance of the survival of our species. It’s a generation that cares about our planet; a generation that cares about the future of humankind; a generation that sees the big picture and the interconnectedness of our magnificent cultural and biological diversity; a generation that takes its time; a generation that doesn't have time to rush.

To move into the next step of (R)evolution, it is imperative to slow down, to nourish our bodies on slow food and our minds on slow science.

Tonight, we will be nourished in body and spirit with this delicious vegetarian Indian dinner cooked with unconditional love by the Mehta family. Mom Harshida has been cooking for almost 12 years, every single Wednesday, feeding close to 20,000 people, with no strings attached, in a superb still flow of love.

2. A misconception about slowing down.
It is essential not to confuse slowing down with sloth, which breeds procrastination and general inefficiency. In slowing down, we attend meticulously to details, giving the very best we are capable of even to the smallest undertaking. We observe every single detail with one point of attention. Eventually, this would be "faster" and more efficient than rushing and not paying attention to the wholeness of life.

3. Beyond slowing down...
Meher Baba maintained silence since he was 31 years old to the end of his life. Among his inspiring remarks are this couple of sentences: "I have come to sow the seed of Love in your hearts. I have come to give a new understanding of spiritual value and truth to everyone."

At some point in his life, he wanted to speak again but he couldn't, his vocal chords were atrophied. So, to communicate he used an alphabet board or unique hand gestures. One of his most profound messages, from my point of view, is:

A quick mind is sick.
A slow mind is sound.
A still mind is divine.

That's what we are doing here on Wednesdays. By Being In Receptive Silence, we are collectively training our minds to keep them in stillness.

Let stillness direct our words and actions.

May all become compassionate, courageous and wise.

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On Aug 13, 2009 susan Bradley wrote:

  Just in Time...   Just in time Finding you Finding me Finding joy   Just in time Uncovering truth Discovering passion Experiencing joy   Just in time Fullness in life For goodness sake For all we are to become   8/13/2009 sb    See full.

 

Just in Time...
 
Just in time
Finding you
Finding me
Finding joy
 
Just in time
Uncovering truth
Discovering passion
Experiencing joy
 
Just in time
Fullness in life
For goodness sake
For all we are to become
 
8/13/2009 sb
 

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On Aug 13, 2009 Susan Bradley wrote:

  Time to waste, time to give, time to go, time to kill, not enough time, where’d the time go, wish I had more time, just in time… Reflecting during the week on this inspiration of “time” it was interesting to hear and to read that time is a topic that everyone is talking about; these statements about time were repeated over and over and over.   Our Wednesday evening reflection brought many valuable statements about the topic to my thoughts.   It is our choice about how we use our time. This brought home the point that we possess time and can have a healthy attachment to time in a way that we may allow ourselves to control where we choose to use our time. Even in our work and our families and relationships, we choose how, with whom, doing what and where we are any moment; we are the champions of our time!   Time is limited; it is renewed “like the water in a stream” but we never have time again. Wow this one real  See full.

 

Time to waste, time to give, time to go, time to kill, not enough time, where’d the time go, wish I had more time, just in time… Reflecting during the week on this inspiration of “time” it was interesting to hear and to read that time is a topic that everyone is talking about; these statements about time were repeated over and over and over.
 
Our Wednesday evening reflection brought many valuable statements about the topic to my thoughts.
 
It is our choice about how we use our time. This brought home the point that we possess time and can have a healthy attachment to time in a way that we may allow ourselves to control where we choose to use our time. Even in our work and our families and relationships, we choose how, with whom, doing what and where we are any moment; we are the champions of our time!
 
Time is limited; it is renewed “like the water in a stream” but we never have time again. Wow this one really rang true as a reminder that at the moment our present time is indeed a “present” a gift to us and others. Using our time to connect and be aware of other needs and desires is a good thing.
 
An important element of time is the being present not necessarily the “speed” at which we engage in our day but rather that we fully engage in each moment.   Each of us individually has a rate at which we move through life. One shared a story of Gandhi walking very quickly and a comment someone made to him about rushing and Gandhi replied that rushing would be an act of violence and that he was simply walking quickly! Someone else shared the quiet repose of a visiting guest from India on a walk down Castro Street in Mountain View, Ca and the single thing this guest noticed was the enormous and beautiful tree in a hustling, bustling area of this city – not the numerous ethnic restaurants or the number of people, but rather the beauty of nature. Yet another compared timing to a dance with partners and if the partners are not in sync, things could go awry quickly!
 
This huddle of sorts and sharing of thoughts after our meditation and reading always, truly always, give me the pleasure of stretching my thoughts through the gifts of others perceptions and experiences. Showing me that there is indeed more than one way to experience, or see, or do any one thing. And the discussions continue in to the evening following our quiet meal together, we work on projects such as preparing envelopes for mailing Smile Cards around the world, rolling Wisdom Scrolls to share bits of inspiration, and then the small intimate interactions that happen in the Mehta Family home. 
 
Krishnapram, a new acquaintance, said to me last evening, that what God really wants us to do with our time is to find happiness and joy and laughter with ourselves and each other that this brings us closer to him. As the night came to a close for me I enjoyed hearing much laughter and talking around this happy home.
 

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On Aug 12, 2009 Daniel McKillop wrote:

Dear Friends, 12 years ago my life changed dramatically. I suffered a C6 spinal chord injury that left me paralized from mid-chest down. I could use my arms somewhat but had no finger movement. I could no longer work or meet airline deadlines to attend meetings or work with business customers across the nation. I went from a lifestyle of rushing to meet committments to one of quite, boredome.   This left me with huge amounts of free time to think and that finally led to to meditation. My life is peaceful, calm, I can type now and get around very well with my dedicated loving wife who remained faitrhful to me since day one. Despite my injury my lifestyle is now controlled peaceful and meaningfull, as I now have a job at home running a " Hair Color 800 Hotline." This allows me to help hair colorists in need of corrective hair color advice; it also permits me to give back to an industry that was good to me. Qui  See full.

Dear Friends,

12 years ago my life changed dramatically. I suffered a C6 spinal chord injury that left me paralized from mid-chest down. I could use my arms somewhat but had no finger movement. I could no longer work or meet airline deadlines to attend meetings or work with business customers across the nation. I went from a lifestyle of rushing to meet committments to one of quite, boredome.  

This left me with huge amounts of free time to think and that finally led to to meditation. My life is peaceful, calm, I can type now and get around very well with my dedicated loving wife who remained faitrhful to me since day one.

Despite my injury my lifestyle is now controlled peaceful and meaningfull, as I now have a job at home running a " Hair Color 800 Hotline." This allows me to help hair colorists in need of corrective hair color advice; it also permits me to give back to an industry that was good to me.

Quiet thought and meditatioin has rewarded me with a lifestyle that is relatively pain free and has brought peace, harmony and the inner reward of what sharing with others brings.

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On Aug 11, 2009 Dipali wrote:

Dear Friend

Thank you so much for sharing this beauty of 'inscape" witninn us.

Thanks for opening a portal to access the Unmanifested.

God Bless You.  May I also serve others as you do unto others.

Regards

Dipali