Slow Living, Intentional Living and Meaningful Living

Yet more growing contemporary movements influenced, probably unconsciously and indirectly, by the eremitical tradition include Slow Living, Intentional Living and Meaningful Living.

“Slow Living is the choice to live consciously with the goal of enhancing personal, community and environmental well being. Slow Living recognizes the role that time plays in shaping the quality of our lives. By slowing down we make time to savor our experiences and to connect more fully with others. The process of slowing down involves simplifying our lives and minimizing distractions so that we have more time and more energy to focus on what is meaningful and fulfilling. By consciously choosing to do less, we contribute to reducing some of the negative social and environmental impacts of our actions….

Slow Living has its origins in the Slow Movement, which began in Italy with the concept of Slow Food (in contrast to fast food). This approach of taking the time required to fully engage with an activity and to savor life, nature, people, and place, has expanded to many other areas of life. When applied to one’s whole way of being, it becomes Slow Living.
Slow Living borrows from the earlier and related lifestyle approaches including Voluntary Simplicity and Simple Living which emphasize consuming less and being more self-sufficient. However, Slow Living emphasizes building relationships with local producers over self-sufficiency, and puts a greater value on enjoying life and psychological well-being. While Slow Living shares Downshifting’s more moderate approach to personal change, the movement is not urban-focused or limited to a particular age group, and it looks beyond finances and consumption to all areas of life.

Slow Living combines concepts from Positive Psychology, Environmental Sustainability as well as historical understandings of The Good Life.

Personal motivations for these movements are varied and can include spirituality, health, having more quality time for family and friends, living lightly on the earth, socio-political goals, stress reduction, and personal taste.”

slow poster

Slow Living is often linked to Intentional Living and Meaningful Living.

“Intentional living is any lifestyle based on an individual or group’s conscious attempts to live according to their values and beliefs. These can include lifestyles based on religious or ethical values, as well as coaching, personal transformation, and leadership training.

Intentional living requires one to be aware of their fundamental beliefs and to be willing to make an effort to have their behavior reflect these beliefs in a form of integrity in relation to his or her conscience and environment. In some cases, such changes are drastic enough that like-minded individuals group together in intentional communities.”


“So then why is living a life of meaning and purpose so difficult? It is because our current social systems have not been set up to prepare us to live a life of true purpose. That’s because today’s culture exists not to nurture our highest aspirations, but to ensure our basic survival.

Our educational system is designed to create good workers who will slot into jobs and careers later in life — not to empower fiery, creative people who are forging the path ahead together. Our social contracts exist to perpetuate the status quo — not to encourage our highest potentials to blossom. Is it any wonder why so many people’s best attempts to evolve themselves and our culture fall short of the goal? We simply haven’t been trained in how to bring the possible future into the present.

It’s not that they don’t have the talent or interest to live purposeful, meaningful lives. The issue is far simpler. People struggle to activate their “purpose code” because they haven’t woken up to — or are only partially awake to — our situation as a human race. Most people hold on to old, limiting beliefs of themselves and our human story. Overwhelmed by all the changes in the world around them, most people live their lives within a “small story,” and therefore confine themselves to a “small self.” That’s why so many people feel that they don’t have a purpose, or that they aren’t able to live the life they were born to live.”



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