Busy-ness in the Tibetan tradition is considered the most extreme form of laziness. Because when you are busy you can turn your brain off. You’re on the treadmill. The only intelligence comes in the morning when you make your To Do list and you get rid of all the possible space that could happen in your day. There is intelligence in that: I fill up all the space so I don’t have to actually relate to myself! – Reggie Ray
I follow the writer, Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook and today, she happened to share this comic by Zen Pencils (if you don’t know anything about Zen Pencils, please check it out. It’s brilliant and inspiring!). I often read the comments on Liz’s posts because they are equally enlightening. The quote that I put up was there is the comments (it happens to be from an article). I just smiled when I read it because as much as I try to deny it, this IS true. I was one of those people who used to think that being busy is the opposite of being lazy. In fact, I used to harshly judge myself and others for their laziness but this thought provoking quote showed me the truth!
Busy-ness is like a drug. You take it to numb pain. Those who don’t ‘do’ are considered weird because we are obsessed with doing. We feel guilty for doing nothing because our culture encourages us to engage our minds in some activity. We don’t even pause to think about the reason why we are doing something. Is there a fear behind this obsession with busy-ness?
I belong to the category of people who are compulsive doers and atleast for me, my obsession stems from fear of my thoughts. If I do nothing, all kind of thoughts visit me. I cannot face the fear of ‘wasting my time.’ I am not afraid of contemplation which is a well-directed form of thinking but to have no direction? It is scary because my thoughts can be pretty toxic. My ego feels like I’m being a fool. Others are moving ahead and here I am doing nothing! I guess I’m afraid of being a nobody and I know that this is a form of escapism. I’m afraid of ‘missing out’ on life if I don’t do something. I don’t see myself living in a village because I’m too used to the noise and my conditioning will tell me that ‘life’ is happening elsewhere. The other fear which is more practical is that I am afraid of going mad. Hence, I try to be in control. I guess, this is the story of most people on this planet.
Isn’t it interesting that most of our thoughts are about doing (or is it just my thoughts :P)? A powerful thought is something that makes you want to do something, isn’t it? So, is all thinking connected to doing? How do you go beyond thinking? Is meditation the answer? But if you go for the chanting kind of meditation then aren’t you, in a way, getting busy by chanting the same thing again and again? Meditation can be used as a distraction too!
If you have cracked the code, do share your experience! Did you make an effort to be less busy (this is ironical, I know)? Or were you always comfortable with doing nothing?