Why are we addicted to rushing, hurrying, and multi-tasking? Why are we all so busy and strangely - both boastful about it and resentful of it at the same time?
In the corporate hustle, much of what I hear is the echo of victim validation – with water cooler conversations of missed time with families due to late night work or early morning commutes.
Why do we honor ourselves with badges of business as validation for our meaningfulness in this world?
I have an interesting idea: It’s paradoxically the same reason that the average American watches 4 hours of TV a day, which (if you are counting) is 13 years of life-not-lived. Why? Because, facing ourselves is often painful. Sitting alone with nothing but our thoughts is scary. The agonizing fear of space, of quiet, of boredom is startling agonizing for most people.
In these moments, these tiny spaces of solitude, there is the realization that “this is it.” “This” – insert any activity or circumstance or place you are in - IS life. This realization is annihilating … and breathtaking at the same time.
All at once is the feeling of “Holy Cow, THIS is it? Is THIS really it?” --- and the ultimate fear that you’ve wasted it somehow. Your chance passed you up. You missed the boat. And, at the same time, there is also this perfect serenity back of THAT thought that suggests, “Yes. This is it. It’s not grand. I’m not on stage, under lights, or in a Limo. I’m just here, in this little house, doing dishes. This is all “IT” is, and it’s rather simple.” This latter part is what we run from. We’re scared of that conclusion. But, by running from this conclusion, we’re denying ourselves peace.
We run from the big questions that bring about the fear that we didn’t live it right, like “Why are we here? What is my purpose? Am I on point? Am I true to myself.” We run from these questions, because we’re afraid the answer is “No” and in the process of running, we confirm the answer. We don’t live our life. We run from it. We never answer “Yes” to that question.
Consider this: In a series of experiments conducted by Timothy Wilson (University of Virginia), he found that almost all of participants found it very unpleasant to simply be in a room with just their thoughts for company. Further, if people were left in the room with a device in which they could voluntarily SHOCK themselves, 67% of men and 25% of women chose to VOLUNTARILY shock themselves, rather than sit silently and think. Why? Because thinking is that painful.
We’re scared of our thoughts, because when we have enough time, the big questions always come. So, we hurry. We multitask. We check our iPhones in silent moments. We Facebook. We watch TV.
But, if we can step into the space, just as it is, accepting it just as it is, there is something far beyond boredom that we meet. In the space of now-mindedness we can see ourselves fully, naked in vulnerability and rife with insecurities. We can see ourselves and our judgments and failures and “not-lived-up-to” expectations. And, we can also see that we’re just like everybody else in this shared experience of human-ness. We’re all in the same boat. As Saul would say, we’re never ALONE, because we’re ALL-ONE.
Instead, what if…. WHAT IF you stood boldly and faced your silence, standing firm in the seat of your own self judgment, affirming that – yes, you’re flawed, but also perfect. What if you said, Yes! Yes, this is life. I’m here, now, living and breathing and seeing and THIS is it.
The paradox of living is that this really is “It.” But, by landing in this conclusion, there is a PEACE that reveals the beauty of it all. By landing in this conclusion, there is a serenity that silently creeps in, folding the tiny cracks in reality and showing you a secret version of what everybody else was seeing – the Director’s cut to the movie. Here, in accepting what is, you’ll find what you’ve been running from and searching for your whole life. This is Moksha. This is the moment of “knowing” that is Freedom.
Dr. Ryan Pride is the co-owner of the Moksha Institute, along with his soul mate and life partner, Sheila Fazio. Together, they are teaching the world’s corporations to wake up, to connect authentically, and to lead consciously. We can change the world by changing how we work together. Om, Shanti! Jai Moksha.