We are all busy. People have so much going on in their lives that they have no time to stop and stare. You meet people on Monday, and the most common comment is that the weekend went by so quick. It can be personal stuff like kids, groceries, household chores, work stuff, or global like Ukraine, Covid etc. And with the increasing use of the internet and social media, it feels like our attention is being spread super thin. Not that humanity had much of an attention span, to begin with.
Have you ever met anybody who said that they have a lot of time in their lives? Many people won’t admit that in public because it feels like they are not adhering to the social norms of ‘Being Busy’. I know I fall prey to that syndrome.
So, why is it that despite leading similar lives and living in the same external world, we have such polar opposite experiences of time? The answer to that lies in our inner world of mind and body. Mind is a projector – it projects what thoughts, feelings, emotions are going on inside. If you have a busy inside, the outside will also be busy. And if you have a calm inside, then the exterior will also be calm.
What do we mean by a calm/busy inside? At this point, wherever you are – what is your mental state? Are you agitated by what is happening in the world? Or, are you enjoying a nice cup of tea? Is something from work bothering you? Are you wondering why your boyfriend hasn’t proposed? Believe it or not, these thoughts can create a world of busyness or calmness.
Think of our body like a blind person guided by the mind and thoughts. If your thoughts are riddled with anxiety, your body and emotions will experience that. If your thoughts are thinking about the lovely vacation you had, your body will experience that. Some of us project what we feel inside to the outside, contributing to the chaos or peace.
What can one do? First and foremost is awareness of what is going on inside of you. Second is the capability to observe what is happening inside us without reacting. The third is realising that it is just a thought and not reality.
Let’s say you have had an unsettling day at work – maybe you got the news that your department is going through a re-org, or one of your peers are getting promoted. Or your close friend or family is not feeling well. Or you are trying to watch what you eat, and you want to eat cheesecake. There is uncertainty in these situations. What you want is control over the outcome, but you do not have it. And that wanting something that you don’t have is one of the reasons for reaction, projection. For many of us, the uncertainty of what will happen how will it turn out in the future is very stressful. Our minds do not know what to do as what they want is not happening, and our bodies are like this blind person guided by an anxious guide. And in that confusion vagueness, we tend to binge watch or binge eat or shout at a close one or get upset. And then we blame others, and the real reason that started it all just gets buried and buried.
Maybe we need to accept that I do not know what will happen, and that is ok – and let whatever thoughts, pleasant, unpleasant, come and go as they please. We need to create a space to breathe and let the thoughts play out without attaching to them.
What is the one thought that bothers you, and can you sit with it – let it in with understanding?