Following along with the theme of overwhelm, busy-ness and the stressful feeling that we sometimes experience, I was reminded of this Buddhist saying,
“Meditate for an hour every day unless you are too busy.
In that case, meditate for two hours.”
It’s one of those phrases that (usually) makes someone laugh. Of course, it’s counter-intuitive; when we’re too busy we try to do more in less time, but at some level, we know that slowing down is actually our deeper need.
What I see in this is that when we feel that sense of being too busy, or being overwhelmed, or feeling the pressure of everything we have to do, what we’re actually experiencing is the power of thought.
Or, rather the illusion of thought.
As I talked about here, we may or may not have a lot to do; those tasks may or may not be important (after all the size of our to-do list is only a function of which of our ideas we’ve decided to implement!).
What IS true, is that sometimes we feel super-heroically productive and sometimes we feel like a swarm of hornets has decided to nest in our hair.
I call it the ‘illusion of thought’ because the noise of those buzzing hornets is caused by the hornets (imaginary though they are).
It isn’t caused by the to-do list, the pressure from our boss, or the weight of making our business or venture a success.
The feeling of stress or pressure does not come from the circumstance of the to-do list (or any circumstance). It really doesn’t, and therefore the solution is not in the action, it’s in seeing the illusory nature of the noise.
Back to Buddha…
The reason the directive to extend our meditation time works is because it gets us to stop, smile, and turn the volume down on the nesting hornets.
It helps us shift our focus from the noise in the system to what actually matters. We don’t actually need to meditate for two hours, we simply need to see that listening to the noise is as helpful as a dog chasing its tail.
If there is something to ‘do’ then we know, in that instant, exactly what it is — and we are fully capable of taking the action we need to take. Once we see it, it’s as if it’s done.
Where are you seeing, or not seeing, the hornets?
What’s in your head this week? What are you looking at, or listening to, that’s the equivalent of those buzzing hornets?
And what’s lying behind that? Where is it you want to put your focus — and what do you already know to do once you can see that they are neither real, not harmful?
I’d love you to connect and let me know.
In the meantime, have a wonderful week.
P.S. If you’d rather write to me privately, please use the contact form on my website — I see and reply to every email.