Getting a lot done is something most of us value in this culture at this time in history. But let's look at this value. Is it really the best way to go about life? Sometimes a value evolves and we grow up with it and never question it, like fish in water. We don't even notice it. Never think about it. Even when we aren't trying to get a lot done, we feel like we should be. We take it completely for granted that being as productive as possible is worthwhile and important. But what are the consequences of this value? What would be the consequences of giving it up?
What if you spent more time meditating, thinking, and praying? Would nothing get done? Would better stuff get done? Would it be done better? Would you enjoy your life more? Would your life feel more meaningful? Would you have more satisfying connections with other people?
I'm at this moment sitting and thinking. But I have a strong urge to get to work. To get busy. I feel I need to go-go-go, to achieve the goals I've set as soon as possible, but where will that feeling end? At what point will I achieve peace? And if I don't, would the accomplishment be worth the lack of contentment?
Which would you choose: To fulfill all your goals and never feel serene except once in a great while for fleeting moments, OR, to live at peace and accomplish less?
One of the aims of Buddhism is to cultivate inner peace and contentment. Someone doing that would probably accomplish less with their life. But probably what they did would be more thought out and higher quality.
Can I trust in tranquility? Can you stop your incessant worry about or pressure to accomplish and succeed? Can you come from bliss?
I wonder if I could get over my compulsion to keep busy. I wonder if I could just hang out and resist all temptation to do-do-do until the desire spasmed one last time and died. Is it like an addiction that you could eventually detox from? I'd like to find out. The practice of Buddhism seems to be a way to do that.
The mind/body seems to have a built-in or maybe trained-in desire to hold, to capture, to seize. It may be this impulse that prevents bliss. It may be an impulse devoid of content. For me, I try to capture ideas and hold them on paper. That's my way to try to seize and hold and cling.
Letting go is bliss. Letting go is freedom — freedom from the torturous compulsion to hold, to capture, to seize. Meditation is a kind of training. You learn to let go.
Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.