Have you ever tried to slow down your life? Slow down your eating, drinking, walking, working, resting? Something recently made me try. It turns out really cool.
Slowing down helps you to see what you otherwise don’t notice. A few days ago I was waiting for a bus fidgeting and fretting over the long wait – 10 minutes it was. Then a thought popped into my head: why are you in hurry? I took a deep breath and started looking around. It was a quiet Saturday morning in Akademgorodok. Two old ladies were chattering on a bench nearby, the tops of birch-trees, still leafless, were waving softly in the breeze lit by the morning sun. A girl gave up her seat in a taxi-van. My heart grew warm – there was so much happening around me which I could have missed!
Slowing down helps you to be thankful for what is and stop grabbing for what isn’t. When you slow down, life gets revealed in its nuances, you start seeing people’s faces and notice gifts under the cover of circumstances. You start seeing what is vs. what may be. Your focus gets shifted to the ALREADY. It’s “the manna principle”. You can collect the manna just for today, tomorrow’s manna will rot. Look at what you have today.
Slowing down helps you to stop worrying about the future. I have noticed that I get anxious about the future when I try to imagine what it will be like. And God is not in this picture somehow. My mind just can’t depict the future with God in it. Slowing down helps me to say: “Don’t jump to conclusions just yet. You are fine today and you just can’t predict what will be tomorrow.” Then my mind goes back to the manna I already have. “Tomorrow will take care of itself.”
Slowing down encourages trust in God. When you slow down you simply have to answer a question: “Who in the world is gonna do this and that if you don’t?” If I don’t expedite the matter who will? The answer is obvious – God. When you stop controlling life God starts bringing the pieces together in His unfathomable ways. “In the morning…to Thee I will look up”. We can’t predict the future. It’s unpredictable like weather in London. Slowing down is resting in God and having Sabbath every day. Continue reading Slowing down
When you think about your relationships with your kids one thing is quite clear – if you wish to be their friend, they have to choose you for a friend. Unlike parents, friends are chosen. And this has to be a free choice, with no compulsion, coercion or manipulation. Such is the nature of friendship – we choose a friend not because we have to, or we feel some sort of obligation, but because his person, the content of his soul, resonates with our hearts and minds.
The only basis for true friendship is this resonance of soul content between two or more people. Friendship is only possible if the other person’s inner world is compelling for you in and of itself. It’s true that my children are 100% dependent on me, and I could have forced them to “be my friends.” But that’s not what I want. I am not interested in a “mutually beneficial” relationship with them. I don’t want to say: “Be my friend, or you will regret it.” Friendship is the opposite of dependence.
When relationships are based on mutual benefit they are not based on friendship. Think about it: any other type of connection between people – whether blood relation, marriage, work or civil duties – implies an obligation of some kind. Friendship does not – because its key element is to be able to freely choose the other person’s soul content as a thing to treasure, without any outside coercion. This choice “happens” instantly when you find the other person’s inner world resonating with yours. So friendship, unlike any other relationship, is not based on anything earthly, psychological or material. Its nature is otherworldly, it is from the realm of the Spirit. Continue reading Ode to Friendship