Slow Down to Speed Up: Contemplative Prayer and Clearing the Mind

Most of us go through our days checking off things we had set out to do when the day began and very seldom think about the day itself. We are doers.

So how often do you take the time to reflect? You might ask, reflect on what? As a business owner, I believe I need to take some time each day to reflect on my life and business.

Thirteen years ago, I was introduced to “contemplative prayer.” It’s a form of meditation where one tries to clear the mind of the spinning thoughts. It’s a nearly impossible task with 50,000 thoughts moving through our brains every day.

For me, though, contemplative prayer helps put my mind at ease each day before I set out with my day. Taking the time to clear my thoughts allows me to be at peace with whatever I have on the schedule for the day and helps me to have a clearer understanding of what I need to do.

It’s also good to take a step back and evaluate and appreciate what has happened. At day’s end, I like to reflect on what I accomplished during the day. I might think about how I could have made the day better, what amazing things happened during the day, and finally, what I was grateful for during the day.

I refer to this as slowing down to speed up. If you are constantly have your foot on the gas pedal, eventually you’re going to burn out. Those who take a step back will ultimately have more energy to move forward faster than those who steadily go.  It’s a counter-intuitive thought, but it’s true. Not only should we take a step back to reflect on life, but we should also do the same for our work.

From a business standpoint, if I am always doing in my business and not working on my business I’m not being the business owner I need to be to run a successful business. I can sell more than 100 homes a year just by hustling and working hard, but by year’s end, I risk being burned out. If I take 10 -15 minutes a day to reflect on what I need in my business or what I need to do for my business to be more effective — and to sell more homes for my clients — my business grows and I stay centered.

Being steadily on the go stresses the mind and the body. If you have your car constantly revving at 5,000 rpms, eventually the engine is going to blow up. It’s impossible to keep that pace. The same goes for our lives. Eventually, the stress will cause something to break down in our bodies and it will be set us back further than if we only slow down periodically to recoup.

It’s smart and helpful to take the step back, determine what’s working well, what needs improvement, and what you can do away with altogether. Contemplative prayer, like other forms of meditation and visualization, is about setting an appointment with yourself to be better for yourself, your business, and for others.