The other day, a coaching client sent me an email that started with "I figure you're probably busy, so I'm sending you an email." And upon reflection, there's a couple of things that struck me as I read that statement.
thing is what I keep seeing more and more every day... With our access to infinite thought, we naturally make up stories about what's going on in other peoples' lives (let alone what we make up about what's going on in our own). And the truth of this, is that
no matter what we make up, and no matter how much we actually know, it can only be a reflection of what's going on in our own mind, through the filter of our own unique perspective and experience of life. No matter how busy or un-busy I was at the time, my
client could have had no idea what that experience meant or felt like to me.
My client was innocently doing what we all do continuously throughout every day, speculating about something (that I was busy), and believing it to be real or
probable, just because they thought it.
By the way, there is a possibility that they began the email with that statement, primarily as a way of being considerate and polite. But whatever reasons I could consider for their motives, I'd
just be making that up too. :)
The second is that when pondering if I was really busy or not, I suddenly realized just how non-busy I was feeling, and how I was probably the least busy I had ever been in my adult life.
Part of the reason is due to some temporary conditions at work. But ultimately, it just suddenly struck me how much less busy I am now, with so much less stuff on my mind. Let me explain.
Truth be told, I've never been the "busy" type.
I've never been goal-oriented, or action-driven, or had the desire to constantly be doing something "productive". I've always just done whatever occurred to me in the moment, and rarely made plans for how I would spend the week, the day, or even the next hour.
On the flip side however, when I was personally motivated by something (whether by perceived carrot or stick), I could and would put in the required hours. My 33 year career in the travel industry includes a litany of 12-16 hour days, and
even an unfortunate number of 20-hour days, working to the point of jeopardizing both health and relationships. In my personal life, I occasionally put in the work and hours as well, although it was always more often for something I saw as fun, or funny, or
creative, as opposed to something I felt I "had to do".
In either case, work or personal, some of the times of "being busy" felt incredibly busy, and some not busy at all.
What I am seeing now though (in light of the
Principles understanding), is that what ultimately made any of that time "feel" busy, was how much I was enjoying it or not... How much I was "in the zone" versus how much I was having negative thoughts about it.
But also underneath it
all, adding to the busy-ness, there was a continual "hum of suffering" from my never-ending list of unrealized shoulds. Any time I would step out of the flow for a moment, I could feel an incessant, irritating, and agonizing hum of "you should be doing this,
you should be doing that, why aren't you doing this or that" circulating through my brain. And believe me, I did suffer.
And because I suffered, I created all sorts of coping mechanisms to manage the hum, including a 23 year search through
the annals of self-help, desperately trying to find out why I couldn't get myself motivated to do what all highly successful or productive or even "normal" people do. What the hell was wrong with me?
And then one day it happened. On the
first day of listening to a few videos about something I'd never heard of before called "the Three Principles", I experienced a profound insight into the illusion of thought and reality, and all my "shoulds" just melted away. I not only realized that I had
been innocently making up all the shoulds, and unknowingly creating all of my own suffering, but I saw that I was perfect just the way I was, I saw that I was already "enough", and I saw that I would be perfectly fine no matter what I did or didn't do. And
I saw the same for everyone else. The immediate relief and freedom from suffering was... well... it just "was".
Now I can't say that all my "shoulds" are completely gone. I'm a human being subject to naturally occurring insecure thought,
like everyone else. However, I'm much more frequently skeptical of whatever insecure thought pops up. And joyfully, what I just realized today, is that for the most part, the incessant underlying "hum of suffering" is gone.
And with a
lot less background humming, life just seems a lot less busy, whether I'm actually busy doing something or not.