Slowing Down to Find Peace – Excerpt from my book – The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together

by Mark Votava


We live in such a fast-paced world that our lives cannot keep up.  We have a hard time slowing down and creating new rhythms of a more peaceful way of life together. We take life and others for granted when we live at such high levels of speed.  We cannot root ourselves in a place without first learning to slow down.

  •  The simplicity of a slower pace of life

We cannot be faithfully present to one another in our relationships without the simplicity of a slower pace that allows us to appreciate life more.  Speed dominates our imaginations.  It has crushed to pieces the communal imagination.  We constantly disregard one another when we have no time just to be and reflect on what is going on within us.

  •  Speed damages us relationally

Speed consumes every area of our lives.  It damages us relationally in the parish.  It makes us less than human.  Speed can be addictive, just like consumerism.

  •  Speed leads us nowhere fast

Rarely will we let go of our fast-paced life.  But Christ is calling us to slow down and embrace one another more by adopting a lifestyle of simplicity that is subversive to speed.  When will we see that our speed actually leads us nowhere fast?  Christine Sine writes:

 The quest for speed and efficiency dominates our modern lives, and everyone convinces us that this frenetic rhythm is the only one we can adopt – for every area of our lives.

  •  Fragmentation and mental illness

What is our speed accomplishing for us but more fragmentation and mental illness?  It can never satisfy our feelings of emptiness.  It keeps us from looking deep within ourselves.  We fear emptiness and pain, so we live at a faster and faster pace in a desperate bid to avoid facing ourselves and others in the parish.

  •  Protecting our security and defending our preferred lifestyle

Speed has us moving around so fast that no one will ever get to know us very well.  Speed is about protecting our security and defending our preferred lifestyle.  We disregard everyone else and become apathetic about anything of value in life when the pace of life is all that matters.  Speed and individualism go hand in hand, making life together nonexistent.  Speed is co-opting our imaginations.

Do you agree that speed creates fragmentation in our lives?