Life without pause is not a life worth living.
To pause is such a simple thing – regularly done it becomes apparent that pausing is an integral part of harmonious human living.
Pausing before action is the basis of awareness. A split-second pause might be enough to inspire life-saving reaction, to let simple easy solutions spring up suddenly as if from nowhere.
A pause could stop a person in their tracks – before they say or do something later regretted.
To be able to dash about enjoying a busy life is a wonderful thing, not to be taken for granted. But being busy does not make a life more meaningful.
Busy-ness is not the same as fulfilment or accomplishment.
Compulsive repetition of unnecessary tasks does indeed become an obsession for some people; even moderate habits can grow into problems.
A pause can lend more skill to thought and action, so that more of our choices serve us well.
Does keeping busy make people feel more useful?
Perhaps fear of seeing too clearly can make us steer us away from opportunities for solitary reflection.
Encountering our thoughts can sometimes be a frightening thing – the unfortunate, mind-numbing remedy being to deny ourselves the space to stop and think.
It’s very easy to preoccupy our minds with many things clutter. We can miss many fleeting present moments dwelling on the future or the past, or occupied in thoughtless tasks.
A pause is a space to rest and evaluate, to slow us down or rouse us from a slothful state. A sense of inertia can keep us moving steadily, unthinkingly on, in the same unwise direction… or it can stop us getting up to move altogether.
Our pauses are as natural as breathing, but like proper breathing are easily sacrificed to the unwelcome pressures of daily life. Lack of pause not only compromises perceptive awareness of what is happening around us – it robs us of opportunities to absorb the daily wonder which surrounds us and links us to the living world.
This is such an exciting time to live! Fast changes in technology keep us all on our toes and tenterhooks; tech devices are now so much part of daily action that we can hardly imagine life without them. We can access things rapidly by the click of a key. Data tracks us and seems to know our preferences. Huge effort is made by manufacturers and service providers to make their products seem irresistible – thus keeping us hooked.
We can access vast amounts of digital information, but nothing is quite the same as the mentorship of human contact. Too much time and energy spent on devices reduces our ability to form meaningful relationships – it’s just plain common sense to see that this is the case. If we are not selective in using technology we risk becoming disconnected from ourselves as well as each other.
Problems with short and poor quality attention span can be offset by simply stopping to notice what is happening, allowing time enough to restfully sit and focus on nothing very much. Pauses and daydreams are a welcome default mode for the brain. Lulls or short rests give us time to absorb or reflect. They can provide insight and lend greater ease to everyday tasks. If the lack of pause starts to show then we need to expose ourselves to the chance of it, until it becomes an intuitive part of daily life.
The more I teach yoga, the more apparent it becomes that too many of us are frazzled!
A healthy level of stress is a natural part of life, it gets us up and moving to satisfy urges such as hunger –but prolonged periods in a stressful state are damaging. Sadly this is far too common, and it makes people ill. Chronic stress can too easily become a familiar companion, so that we grow into our tempers, stoops and frowns.
Conscious and regular pause helps us become more self-attuned. Taking better notice helps us respond to the multiple stresses that we face on a daily basis. We can grow stronger, flexing rather than snapping under strain.
Why be afraid to pause, to step back, to see a brighter, bigger picture?
For this can only help us to make wiser decisions, to choose paths which serve us better. And it allows space for our less fearful, more impartial, more benevolent self to emerge, positively influencing behaviour and showing ourselves and others in a more kindly and compassionate light.
Kit Hartley. Lidgett. May 2017