I’m at the gym – again. And I’m on the treadmill – again. Behind me I hear the yanking of the front door over and over and I have to keep myself from not getting too frustrated. You see, at my gym there are one of those doors where you need to hold your membership card against a card reader. The system usually needs about one second, which I think is quite fair, to get the door to open, but today it seems like that is way too slow for many. It’s usually too slow most days but today it seems to be particularly so. I notice that I have to really keep myself from running over and explaining that the poor door needs some time to do the job, but I stay on my moving belt.
This made me wonder why we have such a rush in some situations even though the actual event might just take a few minutes, or in this case a few seconds. It’s almost as if we loathe being there and we just want to get it over with as soon as possible.
It’s the same thing when you’re standing queuing at the supermarket. How many times have we rushed to a newly opened till? We just want that whole situation to be done and dusted as soon as possible. It’s quite funny actually and I got to observe it again today, no coincidence perhaps. Two queues and people getting slightly restless, asking the staff to open up another register.
What is it about these small moments? What is it about queuing, for example, that we don’t like? Why do we want it to take as short time as possible? Could it be that we are given a moment to just be? Because you cannot really do much when you stand in line can you? You could pick up some candy that is conveniently placed there that you hadn’t intended to buy, or maybe promised yourself… You can read the headlines of the magazines, but apart from that there isn’t much to do. Unless you find a friendly person to chat with, but that is quite rare. Not that it’s short of amazing people but usually we tend to not chat too much, not in Sweden anyways. Well, I do, but that’s another story.
So could it be that we are left with nothing to do and that freaks us out?
For example, have you ever felt the need to look at your phone even though you checked it 30 seconds ago? And the chance that someone has messaged meantime is quite slim?
What are we avoiding here? Is it to just be with ourselves?
I feel this is something we could explore a bit. Why do we feel that need to go on the internet, check our phone, get stressed at the checkout or from opening a door that needs one slim second more to open itself up?
What if we were to stop for a wee moment and just feel what is going on? We then might get a chance to feel something different, which could actually be the opportunity for stillness. Something that seems to be something we run a million miles away from, even though we cannot really run away since it’s part of us – it’s within us – and it cannot and will not ever leave. But we can run from it by being busy all of the time or by eating things that make us racy.
I know when I give myself the space to just stop for a moment it’s absolutely beautiful, and the way I see, feel and experience life can change in a few seconds.
It’s like there is a world there to experience if we only stop and take notice of it.
I do that sometimes when I am about to eat. I just sit for a moment with my eyes closed and breathe with a steady breath with the sole intent of giving myself a few seconds of me time. There seems to be something magical about this and it’s like the action itself is not what makes it all happen but the intent itself, and the allowance of what is already there to be let out, or given room. It just needs the permission really. I can assure you it is a very beautiful thing and it’s totally worth it.
And all these beautiful realisations came to me from a front door that wouldn’t open straight away and a queue at the supermarket. What if these everyday things are there for us to have a moment of rest, a pause in our otherwise hectic life? Then we could see it as a blessing we get for free, instead of seeing it as a nuisance.
By Matts Josefsson, Student of Behavioural Science, Sweden
Appreciating the Stillness Within and Sound Around Me