I skipped February, so my March Balance post is closely taken from a blog I wrote for my day-job about one of the reasons I found meditation.
In modern culture, we seem to idolize being busy. How many times have you answered: “How are you doing?” with “Busy” (or some variation of it), with the subconscious hope that you one-up the other person with your importance and irreplaceability. By being “busy” we think we’ll make a mark on society and be remembered. “Busy” has become synonymous with important; yet how silly would we sound if we answered, “How are you doing?” with “Important”?
I used to worship in the Cult of Busy, and admit I am a recovering busy addict who has slip-ups like anyone else. My worship of busy started as a way to relieve stress and cope with other issues. I always needed to be doing or involved in something. I always needed to keep my mind and body occupied. And for the most part I was happy — or thought I was. Yet, I would become irritable and frustrated whenever I had to sit something out. I’d think, “What was I going to do with those new hours of my time?!” or “How was I going to make my mark to be greatly remembered and continue being important!?”
I didn’t intentionally search out meditation as a solution (if I had I would have probably only done the productivity meditations, lol). I started to find meditation in running. Although it was also a way to be busy, I could allow my mind to wander and regenerate. Letting thoughts run out with each foot fall and pound of the pavement. In grad school after some injury, I began to take a closer look at yoga and attended lunch-time classes with a friend. While I liked how my muscles felt longer and stronger after each session, the Savasana at the end where we laid on our mats for 5-10 minutes didn’t hurt either. I found a group of like-minded spiritual people with whom discussion could be shared about creating and sending more positive energy into the universe. It was here that I really learned to be ok with my introverted, introspective nature and use it as a powerful tool to heal my destructive thoughts.
After saying “yes” to too many things, being near burnout, and suffering an illness that forced me to rest and sit more things out, I began to see just how useless “busy” was. I noticed I wasn’t even paying attention to the present and was always steps ahead in planning for the future, but never enjoying it when it came. I began to focus more on mindfulness and my relationships improved, I felt mentally clearer, and relaxed enough to know what was and was not within my control (but that’s another topic for another day). I began to lose interest in being “important and remembered” at least in the sense of grandeur and instead chose to find balance and enjoyment in life. If I was always striving to achieve something in the future, how could I actually make an impact on the present?
Even this January, I pulled myself back again to recognize what instances was I taking on too much, when was I using “busy” as an excuse when something really just wasn’t a priority at the moment (and internally recognize that), and what my overall long term goals are – and reprioritize to help get there… making those steps in the present that can influence my future paths.
Far more people remember our actions and how we make them feel than what we said or how much we did. I’ve made a vow to make a continuous effort to slow down and live in the now, even if it’s only five minutes a day to sit and practice mindful meditation. It’s always a challenge and will forever be a fight against the flow of the Cult of Busy, but it will ultimately end in a better quality of life.