I took my own advice of not staying too busy this Winter (in the last blogpost of 12/5/21); so I’m just returning to writing newsletters for 2022 with this one.
The Enlightenment practice of “living in the moment” can be a challenge to the mind: what if there’s nothing to do in this moment? In that case, can I just be?
I find ‘just being’ to be a challenge to my mind. It is always chattering such questions as:
- Shouldn’t I be doing something useful right now?
- Aren’t there lots of projects I could do in the house?
- Shouldn’t I be getting ready for the gardening season?
- Shouldn’t I be getting rid of more old stuff?’
Of course, it’s useful to challenge the mind and its assumptions often. I’ve found that most of the assumptions are false. One of those is the idea that I should ALWAYS be busy doing something. The mind wants to win by blocking out the present moment and making itself the arbiter of Reality; it isn’t.
This is a culture-wide issue in the world of tech gadgets that were supposed to make life easier. You’ll notice that as ‘things have gotten easier’ if you live in America and some of the world’s other overworked cultures, you’re now doing business after hours, on weekends, and from home.
To some, doing business from home may seem like a benefit because they don’t have a commute and can wear their pajamas all day but, how do you separate work from your personal life? Often the two blur together.
If you’re shackled to your business 24/7, you may now be overly qualified to be called a ‘wage slave.’ The pressure ‘to do’ and to ‘stay connected’ is another reason to feel guilty about taking quiet time for yourself. The fact that you might work at home can make that even more difficult.
There is also the new pressure of keeping up with all of the ‘communication platforms.’ Most people feel that if a full day goes by without their text or email being answered, Tok-tok video being commented on, or their Twitter tweets getting a response, they’ve been disrespected or hurt. So now, not only can you be a ‘wage slave’ but, you can also be a ‘communications’ slave.’
Again, my mind goes, ‘I must answer that email, I must respond to that text, I have to check all four of my email accounts, my voicemail and my texts regularly so that no one gets “hurt.”’ When did it become compulsory to respond to texts in a few hours, emails within 2 days, and phone messages as soon as possible? Is this some high moral standard that all of us have to adopt?
No. This is a social standard and a cultural standard, not a moral standard. The assumptions that:
- I need to work all hours because I’m so important and
- if I don’t answer communications immediately people will be hurt, because I’m so important,
could both be seen as hidden forms of egotism. You and I are NOT that important. If others get ‘hurt’ because they make the assumption that you or I haven’t responded quickly enough: that false assumption is their issue not ours. If you stop making those cultural assumptions, other people may follow your lead.
Then you could free yourself to have an experience of this moment: take a walk, meditate, have a nap, look out the window at the glory of nature (even in Winter here in the northern hemisphere). Be present to your own internal experience of life and your perception of the external world. Without doing anything or thinking anything you’ll be alive, free and experiencing this moment: “as a human being, not a human doing” as someone said.
In the ‘background’ when you’re just being and not doing, your Awareness is still registering everything that’s arising in your internal/external experience. ‘Just being’ also allows creative ideas and images to arise, and for learning processes to take place unforced and unbidden: a bit of Grace occurs. Let’s take time out from our busy lives of doing to be, and to see that Grace arise.
The Awareness that you are can ‘come out to play’ if you let yourself Be. Experiencing that Awareness is the key to spiritual awakening. Does ‘just Being’ have your interest yet?!
I Welcome You to Be in Contact
You’re on this list because I know you or you were referred to me by a friend. If you’d like to comment, or tell me how you are, feel free to write to me at [email protected]. (Take as much time as you like.)
Sending deep affection and many good wishes,
Jonathan Labman, LPC
Simply Awake, LLC: Psychological and Spiritual Awakening https://simplyawake.com for more information.