You say no to social events, to friends, lovers, family, to that weekend away, to that dinner, to that twenty-minute coffee, because you want to ‘get caught up’. You say ‘I have a few things I need to catch up on, I am so busy right now.’
I have at least a couple of friends who, for several years, whenever I have asked how they are, have replied: ‘I am so busy!' From outside their world looking in, it appears that they haven’t known a life without being ‘so busy’.
No matter how many things you tick off your to-do list, do you find that you end up thinking of other things to add before you ever have an entirely blank list? Who decides that you need to catch up on your to do list? Who creates your to-do list? Is it your mind – your ego – or is it your authentic, present tense, noticing being? Trying to get caught up with a to-do list created by your mind, is much the same as trying to chase a rainbow.
Your mind associates completing one task with something else, and bingo, you have another action on your to-do list. Your ego, like the rainbow, doesn’t physically exist, so you are following a to-do list created by something that doesn’t exist. Acceptance that the rainbow – like the ego created by your mind – is an illusion and getting caught up is also an illusion is a healthy way to exercise awareness. You are not putting yourself in a better position for tomorrow, you are just changing what you will be working on tomorrow for the same amount of time. For as much as you take out of your to-do list, it will fill up again. It’s like trying to dig a hole in the sand with the tide coming in. But you can float in a boat and come back when the tide is out. What you can exercise awareness of, is how much attention and time that you give to your to-do list. Focus on how much is enough time to be a healthy amount of attention for one day. Don’t focus on how much time everything in your to-do list will take. If you decide what is enough time to spend on your to-do list each day, you are in control of it.
You can get back in your boat at the end of the day and sail away. If you are trying to catch up with the hours and minutes that the things in your to do list will take, then your to do list is controlling you, it is drowning you, and it’s doing it through your mind. The tragedy is that almost everything that you perceive to be important in your to-do list now, will cease to be important in a few weeks, months or years. But in the same time, your relationships can suffer infinitely because of your attention being diverted to chasing rainbows, to fighting the incoming tide, to vanity and chasing after wind.
Text taken from The Happiness Animal – watch the book trailer
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