The discipline of slowing

Crescent Bay
Laguna Beach, California

Be still and know that I am God. ~ Psalm 46:10

I added “slowing” to my list of spiritual practices. 

Slowing is an important discipline simply because it allows for making more thoughtful choices. St. Ignatius of Loyola taught that we make our best decisions when we are aware of our emotions, and hold off on choices that are tied to inordinate desires. Slowing allows for knowing the true state of one’s heart and motives before acting or making a decision.  

Slowing is choosing to get off the treadmill of busyness and hurry. It is choosing to detach from finding significance in one’s perceived importance. Slowing is in line with Sabbath, silence, separation, and rest. Slowing breaks unhealthy cycles that starve the soul of rest and connection with God and others. 

Practicing slowness as a discipline allows one to manage slowness when it is not a choice. For example, when carefully laid plans are interrupted, such as waiting out a flight delay, sitting in traffic, or listening to someone fully tell a story that is meaningful to the teller. Slowing allows one to be present to moments, regardless of the pace. 

Sometimes, in preparation for prayer and mediation, I intentionally take two minutes to breathe slowly. Doing so allows me to separate from busyness, worry and anxiety, and fully engage time with God. 

Slowing can be a conscious act of worship, by committing one's life to the Lord. Psalm 37:23 says, "The Lord grants success to the one whose behavior he finds commendable." 

Slowing teaches us to trust God in every situation. I suggest memorizing short passages of scripture as a starting point for slowing.  Psalm 46:10 is my favorite verse on slowing: Be still and know that I am God.

Spiritual slowing is different from emptying the mind, as in some meditation practices. Slowing is intentional trust that focuses on one's faith relationship with God. Thus, slowing starts with shifting the center of attention from self to God.  

Resources for this post:


Popular Posts