The word busy in Chinese comes from two characters that mean heart and killing.
That is a shockingly clear metaphor for the busyness of life that can so easily consume us. Our Western culture rewards busyness and deplores idleness.
I suspect we’ve all been taught some form of “Idle hands are the work of the devil.”
Have you ever been called lazy for sleeping in, reading a book, or just sitting gazing out the window?
If so, you will probably feel some guilt and discomfort when you don’t fill every hour with something that our world calls productive.
In this consumer based society our self image (as well as our pocket book) is enhanced by our productivity.
So let’s examine this busy life we may be leading by asking following questions:
Are you too busy to ask yourself what your body is doing? And to stop and notice?
Are you too busy to read something nourishing that inspires you before you begin your day, or at your first break?
Are you too busy to meditate, or take some quiet time for prayer on a daily basis?
Are you too busy to slow down between tasks so that you can feel gratitude for the completion of even one of them?
Are you too busy to really listen to your children, your partner or spouse?
Are you too busy to listen to yourself?
If the answer is yes to any of the above, you probably are just too busy.
Your thinking mind might not have time to notice what being perpetually busy is doing to you, but you can be sure your body is keeping score.
Our bodies don’t lie. The universe has a wonderful way of giving us the consequences of our choices.
“Pay me now, or pay me later, but you will pay” the universe says. This is karma.
The Buddhists teach that busyness is one of the distractions we use to keep suffering away.
Of course it doesn’t really keep suffering from us, but the busier we stay the less we notice our dissatisfaction with life.
Perhaps one of the reasons we stay so busy is that it keeps us from remembering. For deep remembering would cause us suffering, and we sure try to avoid that!
Jungian psychologists tell us that we repeat what we won’t remember. Taking time to remember our past by finding appropriate ways to experience what we are actually feeling allows healing to take place.
Therapy, journaling, counseling and meditating are all helpful ways to explore the past we have pushed aside and suppressed.
It’s important to get competent help from professionals and skillful teachers in these areas when we decide to do this soul work. Many painful emotions will come up that need guidance from others as we integrate the past.
We cannot do this alone. This requires a loving, caring community of wise people that help us see our blind spots.
When you feel stuck you can be sure you are repeating old patterns. It is an axiom that we can’t see what we can’t see. That’s what unconscious means. That’s why we all need help from others.
It’s important to find our stuck places, for within them are old patterns of hurt, wounding and sadness which block our joy.
Our body is a great teacher, and we live in it every day! It’s so close to us! Our body contracts under fear and stress, and expands when we feel joyful. It tells us when we are suffering under stress.
Stress releases adrenaline into our brain and nervous system resulting in toxic conditions in mind and body.
When we relax in gratitude and live generously dopamine is released into our bodies. Healing energies are released and we feel wonderful.
The following suggestions are some that have helped me open my heart to myself and live more spaciously:
1) Schedule time for relaxing, perhaps just sitting and gazing.
2) Go for a nice walk and really notice all the beauty
around you. If you have a dog, this will bring
3) Pencil in “time for self” in your planner. And make
appointments for a massage, a spa day, lunch with
a friend, reading, or something else you really enjoy.
4) When a request is made for your time, notice if it
feels right or not. Pay attention to your body. Be
courageous enough to say “no” when it isn’t right
for you without coming up with excuses.
Your soul needs this time for something else!
5) Be willing to bear the pain of not being approved
of, or of a friend calling you selfish. This one may
be the hardest.
True happiness is worth the price. If you are not true to yourself you cannot be true to any one else.
And I have found I am much more helpful to others in the long run when I make time for my own soul growth.