You’re Not Too Busy

Synopsis: Busy-ness is actually an excuse for not dealing with, or even setting, your priorities.

I was just doing a bit of scanning of my Facebook page, and came across a link to an article on “Meditation for busy people.” When I see stuff like that, I tend to move rapidly past. But something caused me to roll back up to it.

Turns out that the link is to the OSHO site, and OSHO was one of my favourite guru-like guys. Here’s the quote they used:

Osho Meditation for Busy People — Step 1:
Daily Watching:
“Start being aware with day-to-day, routine actions, and while you are doing your routine actions, remain relaxed.
There is no need to be tense. When you are washing your floor, what is the need to be tense? Or when you are cooking the food, what is the need to be tense? There is not a single time in life that requires your tension. It is just your unawareness and your impatience.”

I’m going to come back to this quote, but first, let’s talk about being busy.

The Bored Board
The Bored Board

Thing is, no one is Busy, busy.

By this I mean, no one is so busy that they do nothing. When we say, “I’m too busy,” we mean, “I’m too busy for that.”

I hope you can see, then, that the issue is not busy-ness, but rather one’s priorities.

In my book, The. Best. Relationship. Ever. I wrote about a client I had, who I called Peter Pan.

Short version, at the time of the story, he was almost 60, was married to one of my clients, had a Ph.D., was a prof, and despite being married, was spending his every free moment searching the world for his soul mate. He just knew she was out there.

Here’s a quote from the story:

I know for a fact that my wife is not my soul mate. She’s a nice person to live with while I wait to meet my soul mate. I have been in many, many relationships, but none have worked out, because I never found my soul mate. Even though I am now married, I am still looking for her.” (Hint to Peter Pan: You can’t find her; she lives in Never-Never Land!)

Scratching my head, I asked, “How will you know your soul mate when you meet her; how will the relationship differ from your many previous relationships?”

He replied, “She will be beautiful and completely focussed on making me happy. There will never be any conflict, disagreement, or problems. We will live a life of complete personal, relational, and sexual bliss.”

I was glad I was not drinking coffee, or it would have shot out of my nose.

The. Best. Relationship. Ever. p. 7

Now, if you have a look at what he wanted, versus what he had, you might be able to discern this: he thought that, when he found the right person, there would be no work involved. Relating would “just happen.”

In other words, he was too busy to work on relating, and large ego leading, figures he’s too special to have to.

Not that he ever put it this way, but really, his career, his studies, his research, and his world-travelling (seeking the Wendy to his Peter Pan) are his priorities.

And here’s the kicker! Since he’s clearly too busy to work on relating, as a solution, he, a Ph.D. proposes magic.

This is typical scenario for broken relationships. Lots of lip service to “working things through,” but no actual work. No therapy. No “30 minutes a day of uninterrupted conversation” (an exercise in my book, This Endless Moment.) Because, of course, “I / we am / are too busy to spend 30 minutes a day talking.”

This is not about busy-ness. Relating is simply not a priority.

Back to the OSHO quote.

You could assume, by the title, that OSHO was actually saying that people are busy, and therefore, here are some shortcuts. But the quote above recommends:

Start being aware with day-to-day, routine actions, and while you are doing your routine actions, remain relaxed.”

Does that sound like 3 minutes a day to bliss? Or, rather, does it not sound like, “Hey! Idiot! Pay attention!”

Do something (irony alert!) simple. Pay attention to ALL OF your routine actions, AND THEN, remain relaxed.

This is a prescription for changing everything.

In order to do so, though, you’d have to make it a priority. It would have to to take precedence over, say, sitting around in the evening, drinking Scotch and “unwinding.” It would have to take precedence over watching TV instead of talking.

Back when we had a home 😉 we also had a hot tub, and Darbella and I did our 30 minutes a day of re-connecting whilst soaking in 105 degree water. Did it for years and years. Why? Because relating was our priority. And remember, we’re not special, yet were able to do so while enjoying two successful and fun careers. And sure, there were times one or the other of us would have preferred to put it off.

But, you see, that would have been laziness.

OSHO’s point, and mine, is this: if you spend your life in unawareness of what you, yourself, are doing (and I stressed that because most people blame others or “life” for their issues) then “stuff” will take over. Busy-ness will take over. And you’ll start justifying your busy work. And the things you say are important — relating, meditating, elegant parenting, elegance in general — will fall by the wayside.

The way out is taking the time to actually set your priorities, and then to do what is necessary to live what you declare to be important. No magic, no blaming. Just moment-by-moment awareness and moment-by-moment action.

Not another thing to do. Another way of being.

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

2 thoughts on “You’re Not Too Busy”

  1. I’m glad you wrote about this issue, Wayne. “Busyness” (with kids, work, soccer, dance lessons, renovations, modern suburban life etc etc) was a great way of escaping actually dealing with our marital issues for about 20 years. It wasn’t until I switched jobs and had some “boredom time” enter my day that I actually realized I needed to change things by leaving the marriage. (We’d already tried multiple rounds of mud-slinging therapy that strangely hadn’t worked. = 0)

    Now I find I STILL stray towards over-filling my time, and I am trying to take a step back regularly, look at my choices and priorities, and take ownership of them. It’s a tough process to escape that trap and takes constant re-evaluation. I’m not there yet for sure.

    I think sometimes people get jazzed by multi tasking or get warm fuzzies from accomplishing lots of “stuff”. Do you think people’s “Busyness” is yet another attempt to fill that endless “hole” without doing the hard work of being alone with the emptiness and/or having conflicts and discussions that need to happen to resolve the hard things? I think busyness may be an addiction like booze or chocolate, or at least a terrific distraction from really thinking about one’s life and doing anything meaningful about changing it.

    I think so many people are stuck in this rut that I hope you will write more on this subject.

    • Hey Karen,
      Thanks for the suggestion re. continuing this theme. I’ll do that as soon as I get done with the relationships one I’m on now.
      Indeed, busyness is often either a diversion or an “expectation.” I notice, even though I’m retired, that if I’m not “writing” I feel anxious… like I ought to be doing something. I usually can laugh at myself and snap out of it.
      Thanks for the comment!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.