Slower, Weaker, and Lower

We tend to think the faster, the better. In athletic competitions, performance should be faster, stronger, and higher. Our civilization values these measurements as if these are for the survival of the fittest.

Our human history has been with a series of bloody conflicts for this survival race, from individuals to tribes to the nation-state. And we call those who won this race achievers, successors, and the like.

Therefore, success philosophies mean how to become faster, stronger, and higher in every area of life you choose to compete with others. To obtain their methods, instructions, and secrets, we are willing to spend money and sacrifice all our costs. Hence, the prosperity business models thrive well at every layer of life, from physical to mental to spiritual.

We admire the success of athletes, business persons, scholars, spiritual teachers, and many others. They are faster, stronger, higher in their fields. And we believe they should be our role models. We can be happy if we follow the same paths and reach their levels and beyond.

These values are necessary to move our lives and civilizations forward and make them prosperous. We shouldn’t deny all the benefits now we enjoy due to these unprecedented achievements we made throughout our human history, even though there were bloody conflicts at every moment of the survival of the fittest.

Our ego-driven motives should function well in this direction for these success values. What about those who didn’t win?

We have invented remedies to mitigate bloody conflicts. For example, we now seek a win-win instead of a win-lose. We are aware of the support systems to save and care for those losers. The matured version of the survival of the fittest in human civilizations is not that winners can get all, and losers must die anymore. It is more like the winners share what they gained and take care of the rest. People call it a trickle-down.

It’s logical as long as prosperity is the prerequisite in the first place as a condition of our happiness. Because of these values, we humans collectively won critical battles in histories like starvation and various diseases. Though it is not perfect yet, the percentage of these problems like infant mortality, below the poverty level households, dehumanized working conditions has dramatically decreased from the twentieth to the twenty-first century. Many people gained their modern human rights at the highest degree for the first time in history.

At the same time, these are the centuries that the most severe ideology-induced genocides and environmental issues took place. We saved a lot. At the same time, we killed most. And we suffer from the obsession with the success values to become faster, stronger, and higher.

These are necessary values and strategies but shouldn’t be conditions and directions to make us ultimately safe, healthy, and happy.

In the constant competition, we don’t feel safe. We overthink, overstretch, and stress ourselves to make us unhealthy. We crave entertainment and consumerism for mitigation, seeking a happy moment. But it is an elusive moment. We end up with a sense of missing and get addicted, seeking false happiness endlessly under the business models, as we get addicted to various prosperity philosophies and theologies.

How can we make ourselves free from these obsessions? The real solution is counterintuitive and paradoxical. We must seek the opposite of ego-driven success values.

Let’s seek to be slower, weaker, and lower.

In our obsession to be faster, stronger, and higher, we gained prosperity; on the other hand, we also missed and lost a lot.

By slowing down, we can restore the tremendous importance of the authentic moment. Forget about your goals and objectives, even means to them, but focus on the moment. You can find the moment only by slowing yourself down. With this moment of stillness, we can realize it is part and whole of the universe we live. It is not that we control the moment, but that each moment guides and leads us to the path we are supposed to move forward. The moment of stillness never emerges itself unless and until we slow down and realize the value of slowness.

Similarly, we must learn to be weaker to accept our inherent fragility. It is not the cowardice of avoiding confrontations, but the courage of letting ourselves go with the flow despite and because of our weakness. Paradoxically enough, when we say be strong and courageous in the true sense, which means our realization and acceptance of the weaker selves for true humility.

Restoring the moment of stillness, we realize this very moment is the universe, which makes us recognize how weak and tiny we are. Then, we can be ready to lower ourselves genuinely.

Slow down to restore the moment of stillness, where you can realize how weak and low you are to the extent that you can never live alone with your faster, stronger, and higher self. You can never live without the support and love beyond our control that we can only humbly accept with repentance.

And we are ready to be free from the obsessions and prisons of becoming faster, stronger, and higher. We are blessed with being slower, weaker, and lower.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:3-5

Image by Arek Socha 

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