Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Reading, was stopping commuters in their tracks this morning (Monday 4th June) and handing them egg timers.
The stunt took place at his local mainline train station, with a challenge to them to take three minutes of silence a day to 'transform their lives'.
The Bishop is urging the country to discover what happens when we simply stop and rest, in a passionate plea for the nation to ditch endless ‘to do’ lists, constant streams of emails, and an increasingly ‘24/7’ culture.
Instead, by binning instant tea and coffee in favour of traditional methods that create time for reflection during their preparation, appointing a ‘happy hour’ when all televisions and radios in the house are switched off, baking bread, or simply enjoying a lengthy lie-in, the bishop’s book encourages readers to appreciate the need to create pauses in daily life – for our own, and society’s, health and wellbeing.
In Do Nothing to Change Your Life, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell urges readers to take daily opportunities to just pause, wait and ponder. He argues that taking such ‘time out’ can help kick start an adventure of self-discovery and creativity that could transform the way we see life. For Christians, he argues, this fresh perspective of relishing every moment with a greater attentiveness will improve our relationship with God.
An international study recently conducted by the University of Hertfordshire measured the speed of walking in 32 cities around the world. It suggested that the pace of life in our cities has increased by 10 per cent in the last decade.
In the book, the Bishop criticises ‘time saving devices’ as simply escalating the expectations upon us to cram more into each day; and suggests that “By learning to sit still, slow down, by discerning when to shut up and when to speak out, you learn to travel through life differently. There is new delight and purpose in the mundane and the ordinary things of life. Making tea becomes a treat. Travelling to work an adventure.”
The pocket-sized book does not offer ‘quick fixes’, but instead guides readers towards a fresh perspective on time, one that experiences each moment as a new delight - and literally offers busy people a ‘pause for thought’.
Do nothing to Change Your Life – discovering what happens when you stop by Stephen Cottrell (ISBN 978-07151-4118-2) is priced £6.99 .