Even in this Covid pandemic, many of us find ourselves rushing through our days, trying to work remotely, care for our families, and take care of all the household tasks. Juggling too many commitments, we find ourselves tired and frustrated at the end of the day.
Meditation teacher Eknath Easwaran called this frantic pace "the hurry sickness." And it's become a way of life for too many Americans. Constant hurry compromises our health, makes us less effective, and robs us of joy in our days.
All this constant rushing produces chronic stress. Our bodies tense up, preparing for fight or flight, producing tight, sore muscles and back pain. Our glands churn out adrenaline and corticosteroids, which shut down our digestive and immune systems, increase inflammation, undermine our ability to think clearly, and block our sense of compassion. And all this chronic rushing undermines our relationships, making us ignore the people around us.
The hurry sickness can even be fatal. At a street corner three blocks from my house I saw piles of flowers and hand-written notes, a memorial to one of my neighbors, a single father with a young daughter. One afternoon, he was standing on the sidewalk beside his bike, waiting for the light to change. Suddenly, in a few moments of careless hurry, a driver in a gray SUV came racing down the street, passed a line of cars on the right, and jumped the curb. Careening onto the sidewalk, the car killed our neighbor, leaving his little girl all alone.
Have you been caught up in "the hurry sickness" lately? If so, for your own good and the good of those around you, take a moment now to rediscover the place of peace deep within you.
- Close your eyes
- Take a deep breath and slowly release it.
- Feel your feet on the ground, as you
- Breathe in peace, and
- Breathe out compassion
- For yourself, your neighbors, and our world.
- Then gently open your eyes.
I wish you peace on the path
For more information on curing "the hurry sickness" with meditation, see Easwaran, Eknath. Passage Meditation. Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press, 2008 or check out the website www.bmcm.org.