Slow Down, Arrive Faster on Your Spiritual Path

Written by Pat Sullivan

Balance the need to be productive with "getting away."  You'll be surprised at how, slowing down can get you to your destination faster.

Years ago, Christian monastic leaders discovered that unknown forces could obliterate spiritual motivation just as quickly and with equal devastation as a hacker destroying a hard drive.

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They called the phenomenon "acedia," which is Greek for "without vigor."  Since acedia most often occurred after lunch, they nicknamed it the "Noonday Devil."

Once the monastics, the originators of the power nap, realized they were most vulnerable to the Noonday Devil's spell when they were tired, they decided to follow lunch with a siesta. While their stomachs worked hard on digestion, their minds and bodies took a break.

video of dr. andrew weil on meditation and relaxationWatch this video on relaxing with Dr. Andrew Weil.

The ancients would not be surprised that the Noonday Devil still flourishes, though we're more likely to call it burnout or aimlessness. They knew that just as there is no "happily ever after" for lovers, there is no "enlightened ever after" for spiritual seekers. Doubts and fears need to be faced daily and commitments renewed often.
We can achieve this by taking naps. Since naps increase the mental and spiritual equivalent of T Cells, they make us more immune to the mind fogs that can turn good intentions and spiritual fervor into lethargy.
Napping can help us clarify personal issues like perfectionism or crippled self-esteem, which make us vulnerable to spiritual wipeout. As we recommit to our spiritual path, we rediscover allies who can inspire and encourage us.
As we learn to recognize the Noonday Devil, we need to remember that resistance, be it procrastination, aimlessness or obsessive worry, is a natural part of spiritual life. One of the most effective ways to fight spiritual resistance is to take a nap, then pray and recommit to your purpose.
Humor is another great weapon against the Noonday Devil. The comic Steve Bhaerman, otherwise known as Swami Beyondananda, dares us to find wisdom by getting off our spiritual high horses. He suggests Tantrum Yoga, a "meditation" commonly used by toddlers, as a good way to lighten our spiritual load.
This sounds like just what I need when my inner 2-year-old drowns out my best ideas with her "I don't want to and you can't make me" mantra. As soon as I break free of the Noonday Devil that specializes in procrastination, I might give it a try.

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Photographer: Johnny Lye

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