How else could I start a Sunday morning, without a coffee, something delicious to eat, and wasting time?
Sounds like a paradox, to have a productivity/effectiveness blogger write about how good it feels to waste time.
Losing time is an art on the verge of extinction. Remember the best pieces of art, the best novels, the best moments you yourself had? Most were combined with a time of tranquility. We’re not made to rush. That’s why our bodies are revolting against stress, and create cancer cells. We’re not made to run after things to buy and build careers.
We’re made to do what we love. I, for one, truly believe that we’re not meant to suffer. We’re meant to be happy.
And then, why does the civilized world force itself into suffering, more and more, every day? What is it, that the third world is doing better? What are we missing out?
It’s the ability to let go.
We’ve forgotten what it feels like, to let go.
As Bob Thurman puts it very wisely in this TED talk, we humans are too much deep within ourselves. We focus too much on our own individuality and forget the bigger picture. And it is only when we lose ourselves in the face of art, or love, or compassion, that we feel truly connected with other human beings, and see the bigger picture of the world. And, paradoxically, when we lose ourselves is when we become happy.
So where compassion comes is where you surprisingly discover you lose yourself in some way, through art, through meditation, through understanding, through knowledge actually, knowing that you have no such boundary, knowing your interconnectedness with other beings. You can experience yourself as the other beings when you see through the delusion of being separated from them.
When you do that, you’re forced to feel what they feel. Luckily, they say — I still am not sure — but, luckily, they say that when you reach that point, because some people have said in the Buddhist literature, they say “Ooh, who would really want to be compassionate, how awful! I’m so miserable on my own, my head is aching, my bones are aching, I go from birth to death, I’m never satisfied, I never have enough, even I’m a billionaire I never have enough, I need a hundred billion, so I’m like that, imagine if I had to feel even a hundred other people’s suffering. It would be terrible.”
But apparently, this is a strange paradox of life, when you’re no longer locked in yourself, and as the wisdom, or the intelligence, or the scientific knowledge of the nature of the world, that enables you to let your mind spread out, and empathize, and enhance the basic human ability of empathizing, and realizing that you are the other being, somehow by that opening, you can see the deeper nature of life, and you can, you get away from this terrible iron circle of I, me, me, mine, like the Beatles used to sing.
So, yes, there is happiness in nothingness, as the Buddhists say. And, as much as I’d like to give a recipe or a 3-step approach for laziness, there’s no ready-made way.
It all starts with quieting the mind.
Giving up on physical belongings.
Asking yourself whether you really need – that car, that dress, that house.
Enjoying the present moment and not worrying so much about the future.
As the little Dalai Lama said in this movie about Tibet
If this problem can be solved, why worry about it?
If this problem cannot be solved, worrying will do no good.
Come, join me for a cup of coffee, and smell the flowers.