Category: Journeyers
Life Key: Easy Mindfulness
Dream Arc Partners: Buzzard / Newt
Related Gene Key: 33

I am the Sloth. What a challenging gift I bring to you – to slow down, to move within, to go into retreat. In this, our wheeling mother universe, there are seasons and cycles of change and flow and movement. And then there are times of rest. These you humans call holidays. These are your ‘Holy Days’. You are in need of more of those kind of days. Right now, your life is at a crossroads. Forces pull you in different directions. At such times it is easy to react too quickly in order to try and resolve your own discomfort and uncertainty. My guidance to you however is to stop right where you are. Take no quick action. Your body needs rest and recuperation. It is worn from struggle. Your mind needs a new vista to draw inspiration from. Your heart too, needs a deep rest.

I invite you to take a rest from your life. You must determine the length of this rest and its timing, but ideally it should be longer than your mind is comfortable with! You will need to consider and organise this carefully so that your ordinary responsibilities are met. You may need to set up support, which may involve asking others for help – that too may bring challenges for you. Right now however, I cannot say strongly enough how important this period of pause will be in your life. It will allow you to do a complete reset. It will allow you to see with new eyes. It will allow you to evaluate all aspects of your life. You may need to put many things on hold.

This time that you take to slow down may not be easy. It will be a journey for you. Just setting it up is your first initiation. The second initiation will be the time itself. You are asked to use it wisely, to spend much time alone, but also perhaps to speak and listen to old friends or family, those you may not have seen or given time to in recent days. You may wish to perform ceremonies in your time away from life. You may wish to meditate, pray, contemplate, dance, do yoga or some other interior discipline. You may also wish to be creative. Certainly every day should be filled with music. Allow the new slow pace of the sloth to enter your sinew and bone, to heal old wounds and to finally lay the past to rest. Embrace with your full spirit the beautiful eternal spirit of this universe. Listen to the words of timeless wisdom that are ceaselessly uttered in your heart when you manage to slow down. Find a new rhythm of being and bring that back into your new life. This will be your third initiation – how to translate the gifts of your retreat into the next phase of your life. Be wary of beginning too quickly. Slow and steady in all things. Slow and steady. And know that I am with you every slow step you take.

One final thing, there is a small book, The Art of Contemplation. Take this book with you in your retreat, and make a deep study and practice of it every day…

South America – The sloth is venerated as a sacred animal among the people of the rainforest, who mimic its movements through dance and ritual.

The sloth is a wonderful spirit if only for its symbolic ability to slow human beings down and make them pay attention to every moment and every breath. The slow-moving qualities of the sloth have come to be associated with laziness in the hectic modern world. This is highly ironic because in truth the sloth’s essence is about economy and awareness – what the Buddhists call ‘mindfulness’. The people of this symbol are very valuable in the modern world because they of all people understand the real importance of reflection and retreat. The sloth symbol teaches deep relaxation, coupled with alertness. When taken together, these qualities can resolve any human problem and surmount any obstacle. It is the sloth that slows us down, but inevitably it is also the sloth that speeds us up.

Think about the day you had yesterday. Try and recall some of the events that took place and then think about its overall feeling. When you came to the end of the day, how did you feel? Many of us get to the end of the day and just collapse onto the sofa or into bed without a sense of the day that we just had. As you learn the art of pausing, your days will begin to feel very different. They will expand as though you are somehow pumping more time and space into them. You will also gain a wider sense of perspective on your life.

 Rather than simply hurtling through your day, you will see where it fits into a wider pattern, and this will give you an increased sense of patience and ease. You will begin to remember a fundamental life truth: If you push against the current, you will end up exhausted. Whereas if you find your own natural, harmonic rhythm, things will operate far more efficiently all around you.

 The technique of pausing leads us to a wonderful paradox – the more we slow down, the more life appears to expand. In other words, the more frequently we learn to pause and take a breath, the more space we feel and the clearer our mind becomes. This lucid mind can then make clear and unhurried decisions throughout our day.

-The Art of Contemplation

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