Not Rushing

Task 17

Part of the theme of spiritual growth is that all things we face in our lives can be affected by negative emotions. It is almost as if these emotions are opportunistic diseases. You know the saying, “Haste makes waste.”

I find that I do some of my best rushing when I am sitting still. An example is going to the airport to catch a plane. I might be driving the car, waiting at a stoplight, and I am rushing. I am standing in line, waiting to get my ticket, and I am rushing, standing perfectly still! Then I am sitting on the plane and I am rushing while waiting for takeoff. All this rushing is obviously an “inside job.” This rushed feeling is destroying my peace and the pleasure of my trip. We need to fight off those rushing beasts and resist their infection.

The rushing infection includes negative feelings that have a certain flavor to them. I have learned to identify those feelings and to recognize the negative thoughts. The negative thoughts act to confuse the mind; they make it harder for me to see and think and act.

And then there is tripping over things and dropping things when you rush. There is a touching story in the Bible of King Saul’s son, who was literally crippled by rushing. When his nurse heard about the battle in which King Saul was killed, she rushed and dropped the child, and he became lame in both feet. He referred to himself as a “dead dog” because of being lame.

To slow down and go with the pace of whatever is happening is very hard. This task is a variation on living in the present. You can just go with real time—don’t you love that expression, “real time”? Rushing is not real time; it is very messy time. So what I would like you to do this week, whenever you find yourself rushing, is to become an observer and look at the different aspects of your rushing: the feelings, the thoughts, and the actions.

Then use the affirmation, “It is rushing, but I don’t have to,” and see if you can rise above the rushing state.

I find this task very challenging. Just a few minutes ago, I was rushing and it seemed silly since I was just about to speak on the subject.

Rushing is an enemy of things like serenity and peace. What we do is allow the negative to deprive us of something we prize. Often we will blame it on the circumstances: “Of course I am rushing, because . . .” Well, if you believe that, you will believe anything. You are rushing because the negative beast (the rushing beast) has you by the leg and he is opportunistic.

I could be rushing right now, couldn’t I? Maybe some of you are rushing right now. But if I make up reasons for why I am rushing and why I have to rush, then it is almost impossible to let go of the beast because you have to wait for the circumstance to change.

Often the circumstance does not have any time schedule to it. It is like driving to the airport; it is already pretty well determined when the car will get there. The rushing has no effect on the outcome. Or, if you are driving the car, rushing has a dangerous effect.

The Bible says, “In quietness and in trust shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). That is part of letting go.

Enrichment Reading

  1. I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. (Psalms 40:1)
  2. When we are being reborn—which is accomplished by having spiritual truth and goodness planted in us and having falsity and evil moved aside—we are reborn slowly, not quickly. (Emanuel Swedenborg, Secrets of Heaven 9334:2)
  3. The more haste, ever the worst speed. (Winston Churchill)
  4. They stumble that run fast. (William Shakespeare)
  5. When we are in a state of heavenly love or emotion, we are in an angelic state. We seem to step outside of time if there is no impatience in our mood. . . . The emotions involved in real love draw us out of our bodily and worldly concerns, lifting our mind toward heaven and freeing us from the restraints of time. (Emanuel Swedenborg, Secrets of Heaven 3827)

Tools for Task

Remember a time when you were rushing. Did the rushing result in a payoff, or did it incur a penalty? What emotions did you experience while you were rushing? Were they constructive or destructive?

Observe yourself when you feel the need to rush.

Do you feel rushing will help with the task you are undertaking? Do you feel compelled to react to the demands of others? Can you sense that rushing is the enemy of serenity and peace of mind? Stop to notice whether the rushing and its companion stress are contributing to what you wish to accomplish.

Observe yourself rushing. Notice the physical and emotional symptoms of rushing. Observe the thoughts that justify the condition of haste, and test to see if they are true. Let go of these feelings using the task: It is rushing but I don’t have to.