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In a rush?

20Nov 2015
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In a rush?

Do you ever feel rushed? Not just sometimes, but most of the time?

Many of us feel there is too much to do and too little time, causing us to always feel behind, stressed and anxious with a constant need to catch up.

Technology has been designed to make life easier with much of technology produced to save time. Take for example inventions such as motor vehicles which help shorten journey times as they do today, as well as high speed trains and aeroplanes. E-mails, texts, Whatsapp, mobile banking etc. are examples of inventions saving us considerable time.

The irony is that despite so many technological advancements that in theory should save time, many of us still feel rushed. Why is this? There could be a number of reasons, one of which may be that much of the time we save, we spend on other excessive activities. For example, official statistics collected a few years ago found adults in the UK spent on average over 4 hours a day watching TV[1]. That’s not to mention time spent idly browsing the internet on iPads, mobile phones etc. Thus, just like being financially wealthy doesn’t necessarily mean you have a large bank balance if most or all of that money is constantly being spent. In the same way, time saving technological advancements don’t necessarily free up our time if they are not utilised correctly, with time spent on other less productive activities.

Another reason why we feel out of time is that, although we may not be wasting much time, we may be trying to cram in too much into a day. What we may need to do is simplify our life, take a step back and focus on what is important, how much time we can afford to dedicate to these important activities whilst still taking care of ourselves and not neglecting other duties.

The side effects of feeling too rushed include, as well as agitation and stress, more vulnerability to accidents and mishaps. For example, many years ago I was with friends on the motorway in a rush to get to my destination and crashed the car, thankfully no-one was injured but it took considerable time and expense to replace the steering wheel with a new airbag, new headlights etc. And of course there are the countless dishes broken, cups of drink spilt etc over the years from losing awareness and rushing.

In fact whilst rushing I have noticed it is difficult to stay aware and mindful, and a slower pace is more conducive to mindfulness. Eckhart Tolle in his book “The Power of Now” asks whether there is joy, ease and lightness in what we are doing. When we are rushing the tendency is that we are just trying to finish that activity off as quickly as possible in order to move onto the next one, and the next one, and the next one which detracts from the enjoyment and appreciation of it and the present moment.

As with everything, the middle way is recommended in Islam:

“And be moderate in your pace…..” (Qur’an, 31:19)

“A good disposition, deliberation in work and to adopt the golden means in all affairs, are of the qualities of prophets” (Hadith [2])

Reflecting on where and how we spend our time and making adjustments accordingly, not rushing or being too slow but being moderate in our affairs as well as of course improving our character, are actions required in Islam. The more effort we make in these areas the better the quality of life we can attain here and in the hereafter.


[2]  – number 95

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