Can you have a quiet mind even when you’re really busy?

Most of us live in the illusion that it’s difficult to have a quiet mind if you are really busy. We have grown accustomed to the idea that busy-mindedness is a natural consequence of being busy. There is an implicit assumption that some amount of stress, pressure, and tension simply go with the territory of having a lot to do.

Well, it ain’t necessarily so. There is no inherent stress, tension, or pressure in having a lot to do. The stress, pressure, and tension come 100% from Thought, not from circumstances.

Given that many of us live in a culture of busy-mindedness and are steeped in the habit of expecting a busy mind to go with a busy life, it is natural that we would fall for the illusion that the stress, tension, and pressure are coming from the outside. But they just aren’t.

You can “do busy” without being busy-minded

Most of us live in the illusion that it’s difficult to have a quiet mind if you are really busy. We have grown accustomed to the idea that busy-mindedness is a natural consequence of being busy. There is an implicit assumption that some amount of stress, pressure, and tension simply go with the territory of having a lot to do.

But stress and busy-mindedness don’t come from having a lot to do

Stress, tension, and pressure are not an inevitable product of having a lot to do. The stress, pressure, and tension that we feel, when we feel them, come 100% from Thought, not from circumstances.

You can test this for yourself

Most of us can readily think of times when it seemed like stress was coming to us courtesy of our circumstances. Yet when my clients give themselves space to reflect, they invariably find instances when they were extremely productive and juggling multiple calls on their time and attention without being busy-minded.

That couldn’t ever happen if stress was actually inherent in certain situations, experiences, or circumstances.

It’s easy to overlook

We may overlook the absence of stress for the simple reason that we aren’t wired to notice what isn’t there. Yet the more you reflect, the more you are likely to observe multiple times each week when you handle what is right in front of you in the moment without being preoccupied by all the other possible things you might be doing, have just done, or could be doing next.

Play with it

Play with it. See if you can recall times when you have had a quiet mind even though you have had a lot to do. Then see if you can remember times when you have had a busy mind with lots of stress and tension even though you didn’t necessarily have a lot to do. (Don’t get me started!)

Then tell me what you observe. As always I welcome your comments, questions, and push back. If this has been helpful, please share it with friends and colleagues.

If you’d like to do more with less busy-mindedness, check out The Art of Living

The Art of Living is a 12-week encounter with the possibility of high engagement and low stress. In a small group (maximum 12), we will tap the deeper intelligence available to every human being, an intelligence that will guide you in the creation of what you want in life, whether you think it is possible at the outset or not.

Starts November 9, 2017Click here for details.

 

5 Comments

  1. Karen Blanchet

    Lately I have had the opportunity to verify what you wrote. My purse was stolen from my car as I attended mass on Sunday. The circumstances have filled my days following up on all sorts of subsequent actions like closing accounts, etc. I kept way too much in that purse! Anyway, the amazing thing is I am not stressed unless I allow myself to be. It did upset me to see my account cleaned and I allowed myself to drift into a pity party from which my husband moved me by suggesting I could “dump on him if I wished”. I don’t wish. Finding my quiet place again brought me back to calm. A daily meditation practice helps so much to keep one connected to the bigger picture.

    Reply
    • Molly

      Thank you, Karen.

      It looks to me like when we realize that stress is coming from thought in the moment, we naturally invest less significance in the thought. We may still feel it, but we don’t quite buy into it, and therefore it tends to drop away. It may seem like something we do, but it’s actually a spontaneous process guided by insight rather than effort.

      Does that make sense to you?

      Reply
      • Karen Blanchet

        Totally. It is like moving through the motions necessary without investing too much energy. Unfortunately my propensity to be perfect is interfering. I am thankful for each new moment.

        Reply
        • Molly

          Yes, every moment is different. And our tendencies are self-correcting. As we become aware of perfectionism, for example, we naturally tend to lean into it less. Allowing that learning to occur is more efficient than trying to manage it.

          Does that make sense?

          Reply
        • Molly

          Yes, every moment is different. And notice that you are designed to learn and adapt. Simply noticing when perfectionism gets in the way points you in a different direction. You don’t have to manage that any more than a baby has to manage the process of learning to walk.

          Reply

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