What you notice when you cross cultural boundaries are the differences in the perception of speed. Some countries run faster than others - cities have a different pace than villages. I noticed already the different speed of escalators and the different walking speed in two different cities in Germany. You will also notice that individuals have different speeds of living - some can handle a high speed of action and work every day while others need more time to handle fewer items on the list. Some individuals learn fast, some slow. And when you work together or live together, this can be an issue.
I've found that there are two conclusions to be drawn from this: First, to respect and understand every single speed of any individual instead of criticizing them as "too slow" or "too fast". Speed is like a finger print, tied most often to cultural background and human history - so as much as we would not quarrel with anyone about his/her culture or background, likewise not with their speed. There is something very constructive about respecting individual perception of speed, something healing and comforting. In all directions. For any relationship this is a must. Second, this insight teaches me something about the subjectivity of speed, which means it can be changed. In my own experience.
Some weeks ago I noticed how quickly a friend would change direction or accept a better way of doing something as soon as she had understood the why. Healings happen very quickly. There is no period of negotiating with former ways, just accepting, that now she knows a better way. Impressive. So I realized that it is possible to improve on speed and include "speed" as an area of spiritual growth as well. I wondered why it would take me long to grasp and live a spiritual quality like poise, patience, courage, or grace. Why does it take me, lets say, about a year, I asked myself, and then why not six months? And if six months, why not one month? And if one month only why not a week? And if one week only why not a day? And if only a day, why not an hour? And then: If only an hour, why not now?
As we must live everything in order to truly understand it, and understand it in order to live it, I try to be more willing to let go and reconsider what kind of narrative I carry around about my own speed. What a weight, what an imposition. In her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures", Mary Baker Eddy writes: "... the human self must be evangelized. This task God demands us to accept lovingly to-day, and to abandon so fast as practical the material, and to work out the spiritual which determines the outward and actual." (p. 254) A few lines before that, she also speaks about speed of life and writes: "When we wait patiently on God and seek Truth righteously, He directs our path. Imperfect mortals grasp the ultimate of spiritual perfection slowly; but to begin aright and to continue the strife of demonstrating the great problem of being, is doing much."
It is incredibly freeing and adventurous to pray about your own concept of speed - why you think certain actions require a certain amount of time, how you can express spiritual velocity with more ease - and how you can improve on your patience in regard to the speed of others. In the Bible in Jeremiah 12: 5 we read:
"If you have raced with runners and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?" But even here it makes a difference whether it is an Arabian stallion or an Icelandic horse with its additional gait known as the tölt. It is good to know that an infinite God is expressed in an infinite variety of speed - and that we all are capable of more than we think we are. And that it is the glory of life to discover how to move at the right speed at any given time when we yield to the divine rhythm in our life - and this is specific, and very individual. Peter Henniker-Heaton expressed this beautifully, as quoted in an article in Time: "When you are used to snail-racing, horse races are over too quickly."
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and as a writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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