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.

 

Overwhelm is optional (really!)

Overwhelm is optional—really

If a surfer riding the crest of a wave obsesses about the last six waves or the next six waves, she’s certain to wipe out.

Yet human beings do this all the time when we (yes, me too!) innocently generate overwhelm.

The illusion of overwhelm

Most of us live in the illusion that overwhelm comes from overwhelming circumstances. We think that our jammed mental circuits, tight shoulders, irritability, and confusion are inevitable and natural consequences of the situations we face.

But that’s just not so.

Overwhelm comes to us courtesy of thought, not the world

Overwhelm is the product of overwhelming thought, not overwhelming circumstances.

Consider surfing.

If overwhelm were the natural byproduct of circumstances, every surfer would be utterly and completely freaked out by the ocean all the time.

I mean really, what’s more freaking overwhelming than the ocean and wind?

Successful surfers only focus on one wave at a time

A surfer who succeeds isn’t thinking about yesterday’s waves or tomorrow’s weather. She succeeds and improves to the extent that she pays attention right here, right now, and allows herself to be educated by the experience.

The surfer who stays in the moment learns naturally and organically on multiple levels as she gains experience. If she overanalyzes that experience, she’s going to gum up the works, stop learning, and perform poorly. (In golf this is known as the yips.)

Overwhelm arises from using the small personal mind to do a job it isn’t designed to do

Overwhelm arises when we try to think our way through situations that we are designed to live our way through.

When we live in the moment, life educates us in exactly the ways we require to meet whatever life is serving up. Like babies learning to walk and talk, life invites us to whole body, whole mind, whole spirit learning.

So long as we come back to the wave we are on right now.

Talk back

Play with this. Reflect on your experience. Where do you notice you or someone around you learning and growing organically? And where do you see you or someone else gum up the works by trying too hard or getting hung up on the past or the future? Play with the possibility that you are designed to do life with less mental effort than you may think.

Let me know what you notice in the comments at the bottom of this page, or email me.

Check out The Art of Living

How would it be to really see that you are perfectly designed to do life? If that sounds good, check out The Art of Living. It’s starts November 9, and three of 12 places are already spoken for.

Things happen for a reason. Really?

“Things happen for a reason.”

You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it. Maybe you’ve said it; I certainly have. And today I realized that it’s not all that helpful.

Maybe things happen for a reason; maybe they don’t. As my mentor George Pransky likes to say, “That’s beyond my pay grade.” In other words, I don’t actually know.

What I know down to my toenails is that things happen. And really, it’s more useful to keep our attention on that simple fact so we can resources we can encounter, experience, and respond to what happens, as it happens, with our whole selves. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to divert attention we can use for that to figuring out the cosmic reason or lack of reason for what’s going on.

Sure, in quiet moments, it can be interesting, even rewarding, to muse about why things happen. But on a go forward basis, it probably makes more sense to simply notice that things certainly do happen and that human beings are designed beautifully to respond.

What comes up for you? Tell me about it! Please comment. ♥

Join me for The Art of Living: Rediscovering Magic and Meaning in Life and Work

The Art of Living is a 12-week encounter with magic, meaning, and your innate resourcefulness and resilience. Together we will tapping into 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, 2017. Click here for details.

The separate reality of socks

We all live in separate realities generated by our inside-out experience of life. Underneath those separate realities is a deeper reality: our shared humanity.

One example, which will seem trivial to some and significant to others (yet another indication of separate realities!) is how The Charming Prince thinks about putting socks in the laundry basket. To him, this is a two step process. To me, that verges on the ridiculous. Once upon a time, the gap between our realities could have been the basis for war, but now it simply cracks me up. What happened?

In this video I point to a deeper truth that enables us to appreciate separate realities and find common ground.

On the perils of dismantling your compass

Synopsis: Every human being has a built-in compass or GPS. Sometimes we don’t like what it says (or doesn’t say), so we start taking it apart. Here’s why that’s neither necessary nor a good idea.


Have you ever looked to your inner compass and come up empty? 

And then, perhaps, you went to work on yourself, trying to get clarity, looking for answers, doing your best to figure out out what’s wrong with you that keeps you from finding your way?

Maybe you were (or are) looking for more purpose, or thinking you need to develop something in your business, or that you need to get back to dating, or have a difficult conversation with a partner, or a spouse? It could be something that you’ve been tying to get yourself to do but failing, like running, keeping your desk clean, painting, tracking your expenses, or eating differently.

Perhaps you sense on some level that the way forward is going to come from the inside. But when you look inside, you’re not getting any help, at least that’s how it seems. And so, again, you keep looking for answers. What’s wrong with my internal GPS? What’s wrong with me that I’m not getting the guidance I need? That I don’t have clarity?

The image of navigating through a dense fog with a compass showed up as I was working with clients on this frustration. There’s enough light, enough clarity, to see the compass. And you have a decent sense of what direction you want to go. For example, you want to go north, and the compass reliably points to north.

But  you don’t like the compass reading, so you ignore or override it, and you get lost.

And let’s imagine at that point you take your compass apart. You shake it, maybe pry off the cover, fiddle it with it, then put it back together. If you’re lucky you haven’t broken it. It still points to north.

Taking the compass apart doesn’t help. At best, the compass will continue to point in the same direction. At worst, you break the compass.

Analyzing ourselves when we’re not getting the answers we think we want from our internal compass is like taking the compass apart. It isn’t going to help. Sometimes the clarity you seek is actually there, it just doesn’t match your preconception of the clarity you want or expect.

Sometimes, it seems it’s just not time to move forward on a project, and you can look to your inner compass until hell freezes over, and you’re still not going to get insights into how to move forward. Instead, you’re going to get insights into staying still, or doing something else, which is maddening. So you shake the compass, you take it apart, you blow on the needle, but nothing happens!

And then one day, it all looks different. Did the compass change? Probably not. But somehow your own state of mind, your own level of awareness, shifted enough that you could see the intelligence, the perfection, and the information you had all along.

I’m curious what you make of this. As always this is just a metaphor, it’s a pointer to the way we work. It’s not an injunction to believe what I say, it’s an invitation to get curious about what’s going on when you’re not getting the answers you think you want? Could it be that your compass is working just fine, and that for a moment you’ve forgotten to trust that perfectly reliable needle that’s pointing to the north? Let me know what you find!

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