How do you feel about the time pressure of this impatient world we live in? Personally, I hate it, yet I often feel that slow is “wrong”. Slow means getting run off the road by someone faster. Slow means “missing the boat” because you can only miss it by being slow.
The fast pace of our society has a life of its own. The pandemic has not really changed that. Fast feels like “reality” and when we drop out of the high speed movement of our economic culture it can seem like a form of death.
But if you look at it another way, our fast paced system can feel like a form of death as well.
It seems like a catch-22.
What Time Pressure Costs Us
When you have to work fast, in my experience you also have to focus. Focus is great, but under conditions of pressure, that focus becomes narrowed to whatever will enable us to create a quick result and move on to the next action or decision.
Essentially the demand for speed forces us to be short-sighted.
There is a paradox in this: being short-sighted and fast forces us to make a lot of changes, but it also forces us to seek solutions that are “accessible”, that in effect, keep us where we are, that are not really innovative or difficult. So the project that takes longer, the relationship that requires cultivation – these things often do not happen.
What does happen is actions, decision, and people that fit our time constraints but not necessarily our needs. This is one of the reasons we feel we are in a rat race or running fast on a treadmill going nowhere. Time pressure forces us into choices that keep us stuck.
The Bigger Loss
Time pressure costs us more than we realize. While we are getting through the day, the kinds of connections, moments and observations that come with engaging with each moment often elude us. We are too busy.
There are many big consequences of time pressure:
- we live in our heads. We make decisions based on what is expedient. Our bodies and hearts do not get a voice in what we are doing. The system, after all, has its prerogatives and its demands which must be honored.
- we lose the mind-body connection which is an important foundation of living and also of our health. Everything in our lives and experience is processed in our minds AND bodies. There is no escape. So when we live in our heads, we do not process all of our feelings through our bodies and become stuck and sick. Our bodies feel dragged down and we feel that we are dragging them along with us rather than living fully from them.
- we are unable to really connect. Do you ever wonder why ideology is so entrenched? When people live in their heads and go too fast, they do not have time for human connection. So they relate from political ideas or entertainments or recreational activities but not usually to each other.
- we lose our creativity. A fast time-based system particularly a mechanistic one prefers continuity and consistency to creativity. Novelty and some innovation that serves the system are allowed but not the full-bodied creativity of an awake human being.
- we lose our part and place in the universe. We are creative human beings. So when we cannot rock the boat by being creative then we lose our basic nature to a cultural and economic construct.
- we lose our common ground because we are each of us competing cogs in a machine rather than collaborating co-creators of our world, a way of thinking that honors us better.
Letting Go Of Time Pressure
Letting go of time pressure is hard to do. Slowing down can seem like a luxury.
However, particularly for highly sensitive people it is a necessity because it is the only way we can give rein to our creative natures. It is also the only way we can minimize the stress that comes from being highly sensitive and taking in all of the stimulus that we take in.
So embrace the eternal present! Luxuriate in it and honor your creative talents for the benefit of all.