Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day Twenty-Five: Life with less "have to"

How much do we “have to” get done in a day? How much of that can we do, for the sake of doing and the practice of being present and cheerful as we go about anything. Go about everything.

This moment fades, glides, washes, flows into the next. One word follows another in this book. One breath follows the next in our life.

Our attention wavers, sometimes now, sometimes not.

One thing that happens is that the “have to” voice pops up, telling us that we “have to” do something. “Have to” get the dishes done, “have to” go to work, “have to” attend that meeting you said you’d attend.

And does that voice help?

I don’t know.

Why don’t we explore today: how do we go from one activity to the next? Do we start stewing and planning activity C before we are done with B? And in this tensing up and rehearsing ahead of time, losing our ability to be present during B? And then when C comes, to which we rush from B, often not noticing the transition, the journey, the time in between. We get to C and once there we are not quite there. We focus on C only so long, and begin to think about and feel the “have to” of D coming along, which tightens us up to quickly finish C. So now we have double trouble, maybe triple: we “have to” get C over, we “have to” worry about getting to and doing D, and we “have to” do D, if we don’t have nervous breakdown before we get there.

Ah, well. The usual human mess.

And how about today, watching the “have to” voice and experimenting with “just doing” whatever it is we do.

And experiment with short spaces of empty time, not in rush, not in transition, not “thinking about/ worrying about” the next thing, just an empty minute or two between activities. What will happen? Let’s find out.


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