Lojong Slogan #35: Don’t Try and Be the Fastest

#LOJONGSUNDAY Week 1 is Don’t try and be the fastest. This lojong slogan is #35, and it appears fairly straightforward. These are points of mind training, and there are a variety of lessons to take away from this simple statement.
The most obvious is: don’t be distracted and carried away from your spiritual practice by the rush of life. The world of maya is a raging, swollen river that carries us along from birth until death. If we are caught up in its attention to time, to getting the most done, to constant multi-tasking, then we are going to miss our own lives. We’re not going to know who we are or have a sense of how our minds work, and we are certainly not going to receive intuitive messages from our deepest Self, which is the sense of simply being that lies beyond consciousness.
But it also means not to get caught up in competition. When we do the most, do things faster and take more in than others, we feel superior in some ways. We are sharper, quicker, more intense. We are going to get there first, and we’ll win the prize. Only there never is any prize because if we stop to take account, if we stop to celebrate, to enjoy what we have accomplished, we are getting behind! This frenzy of constant activity drives us crazy, makes us sick, makes us eat poorly, not get enough sleep, not be grateful for what we have. We become miserable, cranky overachievers.
And this competition spills over into the spiritual realm, into the practices that are meant to sustain us. We are going to do a better handstand than someone else, or we’re going to do it before they do. We’ll have better Instagram photos. We will meditate longer or we’ll reach enlightenment. Whatever. We need to train our minds to be aware of this, to not constantly compare everyone to ourselves or ourselves now to our past selves or what we imagine our future selves will be.
So simple, right? But not really.
My intention for this week is to deliberately try to slow things down. On my days off I will try to do things as they present themselves and not watch the clock so much. I will still make plans and work on important projects, but I will not do so with an eye towards reaching the ending, but rather will try too lose myself in the task and take joy in the doing of it. I will also try not to compare other people, one to another, or to myself, or to what I think I should be. I will comment on my experience at the end of the week. If anyone else tries this, I’d love to hear about your experiences.