“There is more to life than merely increasing its speed.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Today’s quote of the day comes from Mahatma Gandhi, a quote that is pithy and speaks for itself. We rarely stop to think that in our rush for greater efficiency, connectivity, and productivity, something has been lost along the way.
Consider this: when you’re driving along on the freeway, a phenomenon known as “tunnel vision” occurs. When you are standing completely still, your field of vision is nearly a perfect 180-degrees, and you have the ability to pick out objects in the distance and see the relationships between them. Now, imagine driving at 75 miles an hour. Your vision cone is reduced proportionally to your speed. In addition, it is much harder to pick out individual objects; indeed, it is hard to do anything other than focus straight ahead at where you are going.
Often, the most important things in life turn out to be things that happened at the periphery of our vision. In retrospect, we are grateful that we were able to recognize the importance of these things. How much are we missing now that the pace of our lives seems to be exponentially increasing?
It may seem that we have no choice in the matter, but we do: we can exit from the freeway and take a side road that gets us where we need to go.
We can slow down by cultivating “seeing” and gratefulness for the unfathomable bounty of life and the richness of the universe. We can slow down by taking the time to pray from the heart. We slow down by renewing the bonds with our communities, our families, and our friends – which bonds are often the first to be strained by the speed at which everyone seems to be going.
Another quote comes to mind on this topic, from the late author David Foster Wallace: “Destiny has no beeper; destiny always leans trenchcoated out of an alley with some sort of ‘psst’ that you usually can’t even hear because you’re in such a rush to or from something important you’ve tried to engineer.”