Theravada (Hinayana) Buddhism does better on the timing of awareness than Rinzai and Soto Zen. Among their list of “Rights” is Right Intention. In the books I have read, their gurus insist that a practitioner notice the intention to do something before doing it. It’s not at all necessary to go to an ashram, this practice can be carried on in much of daily life. I try to practice it consistently, trying to slow down enough to note my intention to do something before I do it. Putting it another way, I try to give myself a small moment in which to stop from making a physical mistake.
Do you find yourself going too fast? Would you like to slow down? My manic genes pressure me with some frequency to hurry, to go and do things faster. You may not have manic genes, but are you one of those who complain of the fast pace of modern life? If so, you can do something about it. Slow yourself down, be more leisurely. My suggesting that does nothing. You’re the only one who can control your world, slow it to a pace you enjoy and find more pleasant. Impossible you say? I won’t accept that excuse, but you may prefer the excuse to actually making your life pleasanter and more enjoyable. Many find they get anxious if they actually slow down. If that turns out to be you, go back and read GAMES 5.
How to do it? The words are simple, just repeatedly, over and over, as many times a day as you remember to, note the pace at which you’re going. Then deliberately change it. You’re on a sidewalk in NYC, everyone is walking fast and you are too. Change your pace, not too drastically, but slow your walk to 3/4ths the speed you were going. Someone might run into you, but that’s their problem, they weren’t paying attention. They may apologize, they may say something angry, they may just dodge past you and hurry on. The odds that either of you suffer an physical injury are small. But the risk is well worth it. Not only are you training yourself to slow down, you slowed the world, and especially your world a very slight bit. But, a slogan is due: “Every bit counts!!”
Deliberately, intentionally doing something or changing what you’re doing at the moment almost forces awareness, forces being at least in part here and now. On the other hand doing things habitually, letting the same old habits run whether they are good or bad, encourages and almost by definition is unawareness.
There are so many things to be aware of—millions in any particular moment of our lives. We can choose to interest ourself, become aware, of various fractions of all that—the world. What we choose creates our world for us. I continually, moment by moment, choose to create a very pleasant, happy world for myself. Right now, the thought that what I’m writing might be useful to someone, makes me happy. And the more the merrier. So you can help me to be happy. Recommend my articles to your friends. Teach them how to access them. And by all means, let me know, by email or making comments here. Critical comments as well as praise is always welcome…