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Anyone Else Suffer From Active Laziness?

--by Sif Anna Dal (Dec 01, 2014)


I was recently reading a book about a boy who becomes acquainted with philosophy through the need to answer questions about living and dying and the meaning of life after his mother is killed in a car accident.

In the book, the boy is introduced to "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" by Sogyal Rinpoche. Within the pages of the book, the boy is introduced to the concept of "active laziness", the need to keep busy in order to avoid thinking about one's own mortality, or even about other important things, like what makes the individual happy. Or, in other words, it's easier to keep oneself distracted than face one's own demons -- and for people who believe they have no demons to face, are you alive?

There is always plenty of discussion to be found about the fast paced nature of today's society, and how people today fill their lives with endless activity and distraction. Consumerism is a big part of that distraction. Rinpoche views all of this as avoiding thinking about the nature of living and dying; the short time that we have on this plane and what we do with that time, and how we feel, or experience that period of living.

It certainly rings true for me. Even with four children to raise and care for, a degree to finish and a household to maintain and keep running smoothly, I often feel I need to be doing MORE. I often lament at not having the energy or time to do MORE. So many people I know are the same. Busy to the point of breaking down, but unable to cut right back because, well, because - they don't even seem to be able to articulate why.

[...]

I know I often feel lonely, not because I'm alone - I'm hardly ever alone - but because I fail to connect with other people. Now, I have to ask myself, is the person I most fail to connect with, is actually me? Would I be better at connecting with other people if I understood myself better? And how much do other people actually connect with one another (...)? Is shooting the breeze really connecting? Is being in the same place as someone, talking to them, the same as actually connecting with another person? Or is it just another way to distract oneself from being with oneself?

Frenetic energy springs to mind. It's everywhere. Everywhere we go, all the social media, shopping centers in particular, are BOOMING with frenetic energy. If a person isn't comfortable in the calm quiet places, isn't that a problem? If you cannot sit in a room with another human being without speaking, without the tv or the radio on, or something else to distract you -- the computer, the phone, the book -- can you really say you know how to be with yourself and with another person?

I sometimes sit just with myself and my thoughts. I don't often with someone else and our thoughts.

Anyone else suffer from active laziness?

Sif Anna Dal, in her own words, is a "41 year old mum to four boys, married to an archetypical 'Grumpy Old Man' and living in Melbourne, Australia. Writing is my passion (and the thorn in my side, as well). A couple of years ago I completed a Master of Arts in Creative Writing, and - mad as I am - I'm currently working towards entering a PhD. I have a Young Adult Urban Fantasy novel I'm hoping to see published this year and many other stories, mainly flash fiction, which I churn out on my writing blog The Untamed Voice."

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24 Previous Reflections:

 
On Dec 3, 2014 Jyoti wrote:

Thinking is channeled, more easily to choosing what color shoes or what brand of ketchup, than to the choices about what am I doing now, who am I doing it with, what's the purpose of it all and why ?



On Dec 2, 2014 bina wrote:

 Hi Anna, I couldn't agree more with you. Its like, you have given words to my thoughts on wanting to do MORE but don't know what, about the short time on this planet , about feeling lonely in presence of others and the inability to articulate reasons for some of these feelings. Most of the time I run away from these questions by finding solace in attending the immediate chores of the day. It gives a false sense of doing some substantial work. I think, there is a very strong desire in each of us to test our abilities to its highest level and to be acknowledged by others.  When that does not find a direction, or don't have the know how, the feeling of loneliness creeps in creating a hollowness. Do we blame the situations , others or our own selves? Answers come only by sitting and pondering about one self, what one is seeking and or what work makes one the happiest ? It is necessary then to make changes and become the master of your fate. Doing ! But we avoid it and  See full.

 Hi Anna, I couldn't agree more with you. Its like, you have given words to my thoughts on wanting to do MORE but don't know what, about the short time on this planet , about feeling lonely in presence of others and the inability to articulate reasons for some of these feelings.

Most of the time I run away from these questions by finding solace in attending the immediate chores of the day. It gives a false sense of doing some substantial work. I think, there is a very strong desire in each of us to test our abilities to its highest level and to be acknowledged by others.  When that does not find a direction, or don't have the know how, the feeling of loneliness creeps in creating a hollowness. Do we blame the situations , others or our own selves? Answers come only by sitting and pondering about one self, what one is seeking and or what work makes one the happiest ? It is necessary then to make changes and become the master of your fate. Doing ! But we avoid it and that is active laziness, I suppose. Just letting the current sweep you is laziness. 

However, problems are sometimes difficult cause of situations or close association with strong personalities. These sway your directions and you do not develop the right attitude to handle them. Then the feeling of being pushed in unwanted areas creep in and you wallow in self pity.
The fault is ours cause the solution is only within us . It is important to remember that one cant find everything that one wants and finding an optimum balance is very important and being satisfied with this balance is crucial. i am almost reminding myself as I write this or in a way, trying to understand my thoughts. 

I hope i am able to shed this laziness to find my calling. Until then I have no right to advice but just share the thoughts and ponder on other's. 

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1 reply: Lfm | Post Your Reply
On Dec 2, 2014 Amy wrote:

 After getting off the phone last evening with a troubled brother, my husband remarked, " if he could just find peace,  all the pieces (of his life) would come together."  
My brother in law is an extrovert.  He thrives on the attention and praise of those around him.  He will do anything to take center stage.  Though this brother has experienced a lot of "physical stillness" in the past years,  it has done little for him.  Time alone is only good when and if thoughts are rightly (in the Light) directed.  (What we put in . . .  comes out)  Goodness and Truth in . . . Goodness and Truth out. 
My prayer that he may know the beauty of peace one day.  Amen

 



On Dec 2, 2014 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 For me Active Laziness is getting lost in social media in order to feel connected. I realize I do this when I feel Disconnected. I have gotten much better most of the time at slowing down and being more in tough with what I used to deem as "negative" feelings; loneliness, sadness, anger. Now I stay with those feelings and remind myself, "this too shall pass." Meditation being mindful also help with stopping active laziness. I have also taken "crazy busy" out of my vocabulary, many seem to wear this as some sort of badge of honor. It is not. It is a disease. Here's to being balanced. Hugs from my heart to yours!



1 reply: Paashi | Post Your Reply
On Dec 2, 2014 Marilyn wrote:

 What a great thing to think about. I obtained a great book years ago, and which is sitting right by me called Don't Just Do Something: Sit There by Richard Eyre. He has taken old maxims and made them new. For example: "Never put off until tomorrow that which you can do today" becomes "Always put off a put-off-able in favor of a now-or-never." His "new" maxims really nail it on the head.

Dr. Frank Kinslow has also written a great book called When Nothing Works Try Doing Nothing. Written as if you are right there with him, Dr. Kinslow will enlighten and inspire you to the joys, the possibilities, and the power of doing nothing.



On Dec 2, 2014 Paashi wrote:

 In my sixth decade the fog around constant doing is beginning to lift through accepting core faith that the human condition is evolving and yet every moment, situation, presence needs to be honored  as is. One of the ways this is taking place, is mindfulness and grateful heart practice aligning when I connect with breathing as the abundant gift.



On Dec 2, 2014 Stephanie wrote:

 For me, finding time to Be is very humbling.  Facing the demons and the egos can be daunting but when doing so a quiet, calm does surround me.  When I allow myself the time to really let go of the whirl wind inside my mind, gain clarity of calm, to listen, and to Be, I then and only then can begin to Connect.  This puts in play a motion that opens my ability to Connect with others as well.  Thank you for the gift of your words and for the gentle reminder to pause and Be!



On Dec 2, 2014 Annette wrote:

 It's easy to get caught up in the junk of everyday obligations (work, family, friends, social media etc) because one can't or shouldn't ignore these things and simply sit and think for 24-7 in quietness.  But there is a way to be mindful of what you're doing 24-7 and remind oneself to stop here and there for a minute (or an hour or two if you can spare it) to just stop rushing about and just Be.  It is possible.  It takes self discipline and awareness to just Be.  But I find that I can connect with myself and others simply by being conscious of the present, by listening, by choosing my words, and just soaking in the presence of another.  I can do this in person, online, on the phone, and even via my thoughts.



1 reply: Thank | Post Your Reply
On Dec 2, 2014 david doane wrote:

 Being is becoming, and doing is a way to avoid being.  That was probably said by Martin Buber.  Western people are a doing people, frenetically doing and getting.  We avoid being, and the peace and satisfaction that comes with it.  Western people have framed being as laziness and wasting time.  Eastern wisdom tradition values being.  Being requires discipline and effort, and Western people are actively lazy in avoiding that, partly because we are ignorant of it.  We stay very active doing, accumulating more than we need, competing instead of being.  We distract ourselves from being.  Doing has a place; being also does.  What would probably be best for us would be to at least have some balance between being and doing.  An event that comes to mind in which I became aware of my active laziness was after my wife had a miscarriage about 35 years ago, and my response was to be very busy doing chores around the house until my wife  See full.

 Being is becoming, and doing is a way to avoid being.  That was probably said by Martin Buber.  Western people are a doing people, frenetically doing and getting.  We avoid being, and the peace and satisfaction that comes with it.  Western people have framed being as laziness and wasting time.  Eastern wisdom tradition values being.  Being requires discipline and effort, and Western people are actively lazy in avoiding that, partly because we are ignorant of it.  We stay very active doing, accumulating more than we need, competing instead of being.  We distract ourselves from being.  Doing has a place; being also does.  What would probably be best for us would be to at least have some balance between being and doing.  An event that comes to mind in which I became aware of my active laziness was after my wife had a miscarriage about 35 years ago, and my response was to be very busy doing chores around the house until my wife told me she thought I was avoiding my feelings by doing and suggested I come into the house and BE with her.  I still thank her for that.  What helps me at least limit my active laziness is taking time to be present and be, paying attention to my body experience which is present, and increased awareness of the importance of being.  Don't just do something, stand there -- I believe the importance of those words credited to the Buddha.

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On Dec 2, 2014 Darrow wrote:

 
I am very curious to know the title of the  book you were reading, about the young man who is prompted by tragedy to explore philosophy. Are you able to tell me?



On Dec 2, 2014 Cynthia wrote:

 



On Dec 2, 2014 manuel rodriguez wrote:

 I enjoyed your article very much and.. it made my day so far. It is 12.34 h pm CET (Europe, Munich Time) and I am drinking my coffee in a mug called "Zucker Schnecke". One of the most important things for the inner development of a human being is to know itself and embracing the devils and the gods (ying and yang, masculine and femenin, hot and cold, good and bad etc. polarity) and integrating it in the self, the own individual personality. How the system has been set up is like you describe in your article. The economic and monetary system, the legal system, the scientific and structrure of the society are build in a way to separate ourselves from each other AND to distract ourselves from our true nature. We can reconnect to ourselves very good being with loving and understanding people, being regularly in nature, caring for others and needy people, animals and environment. Helping or doing favors others from the heart without asking or expecting nothing is the best way to heal  See full.

 I enjoyed your article very much and.. it made my day so far. It is 12.34 h pm CET (Europe, Munich Time) and I am drinking my coffee in a mug called "Zucker Schnecke".

One of the most important things for the inner development of a human being is to know itself and embracing the devils and the gods (ying and yang, masculine and femenin, hot and cold, good and bad etc. polarity) and integrating it in the self, the own individual personality.

How the system has been set up is like you describe in your article. The economic and monetary system, the legal system, the scientific and structrure of the society are build in a way to separate ourselves from each other AND to distract ourselves from our true nature. We can reconnect to ourselves very good being with loving and understanding people, being regularly in nature, caring for others and needy people, animals and environment. Helping or doing favors others from the heart without asking or expecting nothing is the best way to heal ourselves.

The magik word is cooperation, comprehension, compassion, empathy and love. This is the way to heal the world and ourselves and to build a NEW WORLD. A real new world without wars, hate and aggression. Love, Peace and Harmony. To be Free is Our Birth Rigth - do not forget this.... you are a co creator of your world. Consciousness influence and manipulate matter (see Gregg Bradens fantastic work, books and videos and others) and the language are EMOTIONS. We need to see and to speak with our hearts, then everything else turns into peace and good.

Eile mit Weile. In der Ruhe liegt die Kraft. Reden ist Silber schweigen ist Gold.

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On Nov 28, 2014 Amy wrote:

 The paragraph following the (...) intrigues me most in this writing.  "Connections" . . . "Connecting" . . . "Connectedness" (for me) is "the way" for me.  I do not always seek it, it is simply what "I pick up".  A vibe, an expression, a walk, a tone, an energy (or not), a difficulty, a want, a need, an injustice, a joy, a meaning . . . , my radar picks up.  To protect myself, I hide.  Since I am NOT God, I feel the weight of the world around me in a physical way.  At one point in my life, "the intake" of these "Senses" shut me down entirely.  I was no longer able to function.  Ten years of stillness, and God took control.  "I am God . . . let Me take your burden . . . Let Me carry you. ", He said.
In active submission, I have to do what I can do.  With this big stuff, God wants me to hand in over to Him.  I can't take in all I perceive.  I'm so thankful for my Father.  Amen.



On Nov 28, 2014 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

I am more with myself when I am lonely. The loneliness gives me good quality time to be present to my self. To meet me, to be with me without feeling the pressure or obligation to be connected with others. I value my alone time to reflect on my self and feel the presence of people with whom I am deeply connected.This kind of deep connectedness I feel with myself and with others when we do not have time pressure. Such experiences are at times full of spontaneous laughter or when we explore some personal significant existential questions or when I am in a deep loving relationship. As I am getting older, I enjoy such time out to have time in. quiet time to be with me when the time flows like a river. This is my being zone, very different from the doing zone and  the having zone.Blessed are such moments.

Jagdish P Dave



1 reply: D | Post Your Reply
On Nov 28, 2014 Abhishek wrote:

 For me, 'doing' itself is worth looking into. 

 
The constant action generated by restless thought - with the desire to fix, to improve, to avoid pain or move towards pleasure....all of this doing seems to be 'active laziness'.
 
Sometimes, even being still becomes doing rather than non-doing!
 
So humanity as a whole suffers from active laziness I guess....and in that avoiding attending to what is really really happening, we create even more agitation, move further from stillness....
 
And - we do not see that agitation and stillness can be the same....


2 replies: Nona, Cynthia | Post Your Reply
On Nov 27, 2014 sandy wrote:

 At this stage in life -stepping on 60 - I have made it a priority to make my life stress free. I am a retired teacher, rarely get into traffic, take enough time to smell the roses! Feel satisfied with my daily chores, meditation and charity involvement. So no real active laziness, just enjoying every minute grateful I can in health and growth!