One of my acquaintances recently expressed his disappointment about the fact that he has no time left for making art as he has other areas of life that demand all his time and energy – family and work. I know so well how the heart starts beating faster and faster the moment I start thinking of how to manage it all and do that and that… This thing was really killing me, depriving me of my life so I had to do some serious thinking and simply look at facts.
Fact: the list of things to do never comes to an end. No matter how much I actually manage to do, there is always more to be done!
Fact: I have not been feeling balanced or satisfied, no matter how much I have already done and looking forward, I see another “to do” list that just brings anxiety.
So how do I learn to live in balance with myself and the universe? For the fact is, this is something I have to learn to do because this crazy and speedy mode when I make plans for making plans seems to be deeply rooted in the system.
So, following the Buddha’s encouragement I am trying to find it out for myself. I started an experiment, learning to let go. In fact, I don’t have to do much, on the contrary. Awareness is the major key in this whole project – it is so easy to fall into the old patterns of behaviour without realising it – and choose “I must” or “I need” as the wake up bells, the signals for attracting my attention to what is about to happen in the mind. As soon as I say or think “I must”/”I need”, I try to slow down, zoom into the thoughts and closely follow the reasoning. Then I gently remind myself – “Says who?”.
In his interview to the radio show “To the best of our knowledge” Satish Kumar, a former Jainus monk and an environmental activist, a what someone can think of as a very busy man, argues that spirituality and speed don’t go together and that when God made time, He made plenty of it. On the question how he manages to fit it all into a day he simply says that he does one thing at a time, totally dedicating all of him to this one thing and then to the next thing at hand and to the next… In this way he doesn’t have time to actually think about how to have time for all those things.
He doesn’t have time for stressing about life because he is living it! (Need mention the man had some Buddhist training? 🙂 )
It also occurs to me that a lot of our dissatisfaction in the West comes from the divide we created in our minds: between work and leisure, this and that, us and them, etc. Living in this dualistic world, we believe we can be creative only when we paint and truly enjoy life only when we do things that we really like doing. What if we try to see it all as ONE life and take the creativity to wherever we go?
Thinking is overrated. What we have is one moment at a time. This one.
All right, this is not the view I see from my window right now but – who cares? who shares?
There is another huge point in making just one thing at a time – if I screw it up, it will be just this one thing! Too bad I came up with the insight AFTER I had put in some food for heating in the oven and went to the PC to write this. I bet the guys on Survivor would consider this a real treat!