Vol 1, Issue 15: Slow London

After spending time beside the ponds and long grasses of Hampstead Heath this week, I came back to Waterloo station as though experiencing it for the first time. A place once familiar became strange, alien. A little scary, even. The commuters I used to think of as habitual companions became characters in an exhibit of the modern, scattered mind. I noticed people’s frenzied expression with a particular sensitivity. I didn’t feel frustrated but felt deeply sad as people pushed past me on their way to elsewhere. From the perspective of a raw and open heart, the scene was more than a study of contemporary human behaviour. It became testimony to the power that wants and schedules have to detract from out true nature.

The recognition that this fragmented consciousness is where much of my life takes place, allowed me to see it as an inefficient means of operating rather than an inevitable way to be. There is strength and power in being where we are, when advertisers and marketers are selling us the idea we should be elsewhere. It is a relentless offering to ourselves and others to resist the grain.

The time spent beside moving water and unkempt meadows opened me up to perspectives that are often constricted by the grey, hard canvases of our urbanised reality. I missed three trains whilst writing this piece.  But I began to see and interact with the people around me.  I saw scenes unfold. I saw reflections of my own behaviours that I regularly disregard in hurrying past. I began to see our environment not as a means to attain our desires, but as an object of study, a source of fascination  of how human beings live. There were no consequences to catching a train I hadn’t looked up. I felt no lack from the busyness that passed me by as I stopped.

I left the station without any purchases but with a new found knowledge. That there are, in each moment, two avenues that open up before us. They contain experiences to explore or sensations to withdraw from. They fork at the point of slowness. We have inside of us, the gift of choosing which way to go. And how.  

Impermanence

What I came to know as you

   Is now a place  I long to visit.  

It all adds up to something

No matter how lost you are,

in the past your mourn

in the future you fear

Know a gift is coming that is

Something other than this.

A single phrase of poetry ,

the soft whisper of an idea.

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