It’s easier than ever to fill your daily schedule with a long list of tasks to accomplish before the day’s end.
It’s simpler than ever to fill up all the available space with more and more of everything: things to do, acquire, learn, know, accomplish.
In our modern culture, being busy is considered more desirable than having time off. If you’re busy, that’s good, right? It means you have more value, or are making more money, or are more important, doesn’t it?
Many people have the mentality that more is always better, and they run through life at a break neck speed, wanting to make sure they don’t miss anything. They feel the constant need to find the next thing, and to fill up with more. The irony is that many people who do this still feel a void within, one they can’t fill up with any amount of outside activity or stuff.
The unconscious need to buy more, have more, and collect more of everything is an extension of our consumer mentality, a way in which each of us has been programmed to always seek the next thing, often before we’ve enjoyed what’s right in front of us in the present moment. We’ve been taught that the solution to our problems is outside of ourselves, and we just need to go get it.
Doing nothing is seen as being lazy, and taking time and space away from constant activity can be uncomfortable, unless you decide it’s a priority for your well being. If you’re busy filling yourself up to avoid dealing with something, you will keep running because space and silence are uncomfortable for you. The need to fill up with more allows you to run away from what you aren’t ready to deal with right now.
Once upon a time there was this idea that technology would simplify our lives and give us all more free time.
It’s true that technology has made life more convenient and simpler in many ways, and has improved our lives in countless more. However, in the ‘simplifying’, we created the demand for immediate communication, and the need to be plugged in to the rest of the world during all of our waking hours.
It takes discipline to unplug, to allow for silence and emptiness. Having space for yourself is a prerequisite for creating something new. As any organic farmer knows, constantly pushing the same plot of earth to produce crops will exhaust it. The harvest will be small and sickly if you deplete the land. Sometimes the field has to lie fallow. There’s no loss here, it’s part of the cycle of life. You have to fill back in again in order to create something new.
It’s hard to see what’s right in front of you if there’s too much clutter in your space.
It’s hard to hear your own voice clearly if you are filled with noise. Meditation helps you to release the clutter, the energy you pick up everyday from living your life. Grounding and letting go of the energy you took on that isn’t yours helps you to have more space for your own energy. A daily meditation practice helps you to do your own housekeeping, to clean out what gets in the way of you having enough space for yourself.
Imagine how difficult it would be to enjoy a piece of music in which all of the notes ran together without pause, or to read a story without punctuation.
The effect would be overwhelming and much too difficult to experience. The same is true for you in your daily life, you need breathing room to live well and happily. If you are asking a lot of yourself, you’ve got to give yourself the space and time you need.
“Music is the space between the notes.” -Claude Debussy