Saturday, February 8, 2014

Lightning Speed

"Dawning on Me"

Yesterday my internet provider sent me an email with an offer to upgrade my internet speed. I actually thought my "high speed" internet was already pretty fast, but apparently it isn't anywhere near as fast as it could be.

 If I were to purchase the new package, my "high speed" internet would become "lightning speed."  I could download entire full-length movies in seconds and never have to wait for even an instant before accessing any site on the web. The advertisement that was sent to me yesterday invited me to "join the wave of the future." 

This morning I have been thinking about that invitation to join the wave of a future in which everything will be instantly available at the stroke of a computer key. Honestly I am not sure I want to join the future wave. I certainly don't need faster internet speed.  Some things in life "take time."

Wisdom takes time. Enlightenment takes time.

Every day I sit silently in my garden and I silently wait as a new day dawns. I have discovered that the process of slowly waiting as the sun gradually dawns is the very thing that brings me a deeper peace.  In fact, if I somehow had the ability to press a button and "presto" there it was - the morning sun, a new day, I would truly miss the beauty of it all. Instead, I sit silently awaking to the gradually unfolding light.  

First I see the pregnant darkness, then comes the deep blue light over the mountains, then the shades of red and purple as the shapes of the desert gradually come into view - the trees and shrubs, the rocks and mountains. This is followed by a brightly glowing yellow and orange, and then ever so slowly the sun peaks out from the horizon, gradually filling the skies with the brilliance of a dawning day. 

When I first moved here I used to get out of bed, go into the garden and wait for the sun to come up - My focus was on what was about to happen. I find that I don't actually do that anymore. 

I go into the garden to participate in that wonderful unfolding of the light - from darkness into dawn. The beauty of it all lies in the unfolding. 

Some things in life just don't happen at lightning speed. Some things take time. 

Wisdom takes time, Enlightenment takes time. 

The Buddha sat silently under a Bodhi tree, searching for the meaning of life, seeking the wisdom of enlightenment.  He vowed to stay there until he knew he had found something of what he was looking for. It took time, lots of time.  In fact he stayed there sitting under that tree for 40 days and 40 nights. He didn't press some internal button and suddenly he "got it" -the deep experience of the interdependence of all beings. He gradually came to this "enlightenment" by allowing himself to sit silently for as long as it took, participating in the gradual unfolding of the light. 

Jesus did the same thing. He went out into the wilderness to seek enlightenment, to discover his mission, to search for the meaning of life.  It took a long time for him to discover light in the darkness- also 40 days and 40 nights.  He sat and he waited, participating in the experience of the gradual unfolding of the light.

This morning as I reflect on "lightning speed" and on the "gradual unfolding of light," I realize that, for most of my life, I was probably a "lightning speed" kind of guy. 

I was always looking for those magical buttons I could press to get instantaneous answers and quick results. I even wanted to do this in my spiritual life.

There were many times when I would pray and meditate, almost frantically reciting a mantra of some sort, counting out the allotted 15 minutes on the clock-almost eagerly awaiting for the time to be over so that I could get to some sort of recognizable instantaneous results--a feeling of peace, a sense of "God's" presence. After all, I put in all the right data, I pressed the right buttons. I should at least get some results.  Most of the time I was sorely disappointed. 

I no longer want, nor do I seek lightning speed in my life. Some things take time,

 Wisdom takes time, Enlightenment takes time.

I sit in the glorious wonder of a gradually unfolding new day, and the light is slowly "dawning on me."


  1. A nice perspective on life Paul, I watched the sunrise the past couple of days even though the temps were -18 c, I just bundled up.

  2. Remember the old dial up telephone system. Took forever just to get on line. lol At the time being too slow was a hinderance. The problem was solved.
    This is why God wanted us to remain, ignorant. He knows what knowledge will do to us. It will be our downfall. I agree with you Paul, slow down and smell the roses. There's nothing as sweet as living for the moment.

  3. I am in fact sitting here right now, watching the sun rise over the forest, slowly. It is interesting to contemplate how marketing terms tend to enter and dominate our everyday language. Internet speed? Connection speed? Where does it move to? It is not even a speed, but a rate, amount of bits per second. Speed would be distance per second. In the olden days of mailboxes, usenet, and the early internet mostly text messages were exchanged, websites consisted of simple text layouts, people who sent "useless graphics" by email were scorned, commercial use was ruled out. The density of quality information was much higher. Now the connection "speed" mostly is used to transfer entertainment, advertisement, malware, contradicting uninformed pseudo-information, heated up opinions. The web has evolved, technologically, but devolved socially. Meanwhile the sun stands above the forest, pouring its rays over the landscape - rays that, yes, at lightning speed arrive here on Earth, but even at that highest of allowed speeds (real speed - not virtual rates of whatever) those photons travel more than 20 minutes from our mother star to our mother planet. And that seemingly slow rising of the sun is caused by our planets rolling through space and time, circling about its axis at an angular speed of 7.292115 × 10−5 rad/s, corresponding to an equatorial surface speed of about 465 m/s, and all this while the earth moves about its orbit at almost 23 km per second. We call speed what is none, call information what is mostly junk and distraction, and we call slow, what actually is incredibly fast. We are limited creatures, self important "bags of mostly water" characterized by self important illusion and wrong perceptions. We utterly fail, over and again, when it comes to judging, assessing, understanding, evaluating the very big and the very small, the very fast and the very slow and - the very complex. We are stone age people who only recently discovered fire and suddenly find ourselves in the space age, internet age, robot age, armed with nuclear weapons and a globalized "economic" system (that is everything, except economical) that has begun to fundamentally change the bio-geosphere. Unleashed we are. Greed and lies dominate. I have no answers for the world. But I can work on myself. Slow down. My wife recently talked to the mother of a elementary school friend of our eldest daughter. She complained they had no time for anything, just work, work work. They have a huge villa in the most expensive part of town and the husbands favourite toy is his Ferrari. It's a decision. I decided for a different type of life. Like with the internet I think it is hard to argue that "more" also means an increase in quality. On the contrary. We are drowning in things, in junk, in diversions. Quite the opposite of "mindfulness".