When I was a little girl living in South West London in the 1970s, tortoises were very popular as pets. My sister, our two friends and I would explore all the back lanes of the nearby terraced houses and we would peek into all the back gardens. Some people would invite us in. One particular family let us play with their pet tortoises from time to time. I knew then as a five year old girl that I was a tortoise. I identified with the hard shell that was tough but a source of shelter, the shyness and their slow pace. I liked them. I still do.
As an adult I tell people I am a turtle. I have always been at odds with the frenetic pace of life. It stresses me. I hate the speediness of supermarkets, that sense of being on a conveyor belt or the rush on streets, the panic of cars, rushing and racing. Since finding and experiencing OSHO Active meditations I have accepted my slowness and I am very happy to be a turtle. I am happy to let the world rush around me. Occasionally the frenetic energy gets in on me and I try to rush and be like a hare. I find that I stumble, fall and get agitated.
So I was heartened to read a story that Osho shares in a transcribed talk he gives that is now in a beautiful book called ‘Learning to silence the mind‘. The story is a Korean zen story. It details two monks travelling. They cross a river by boat. The ferryman asks them where are they going and he advises them that if they were going to the city beyond the valley that they need to go slowly. The older monk says that if they go slowly they will not reach it in time before the gates of the city close at the evening. That they must hurry. The ferryman says okay but in his experience those that “go slowly, reach”. The other monk who was younger listened to the ferryman and went at a leisurely pace. The older monk rushed and raced. The young monk reached the city whilst the older monk, stumbled, fell and broke his leg. He was unable to move.
Osho goes on to say that:
This is how it is in life. Go slowly, patiently, not in a hurry, because the goal is not somewhere else – it is within you. When you are not in a hurry you will feel it; when you are in a hurry you cannot feel it because you are so tense. If you are not going anywhere at all, then you can feel it more immediately.
(Learning to silence the mind, p.86)
It is my experience that time is a construction. The more I rush, the more time speeds up and the more obstacles get in the way. When I go at an easy comfortable pace, time travels along with me. Time expands and when I take my time I experience the beauty within and around me. Whether it is a pink and golden skyline. The eye of a white seagull or the circular motion of the sea meeting the river Liffey (in Dublin) as I stroll to work each week day. When I take my time I experience the newness of each day. I experience the adventure and mysterious unfolding of each moment.