Doing Less. Being More
We hear it all the time but most of us don’t really believe it is true. You might say: “Less money is more – what? Less work is more – not in my world! Less assets are more – I don’t think so!” But if we don’t believe the “less is more” principle is true, it’s because we don’t really understand the root meaning. Well, we probably DO understand the root meaning but we might not have enough faith in the results were we to make the sacrifices to see if it actually is true or not…..for us. In the case of frenzied activity however with which most of us live our lives, I’m here to tell you, it is true. Less really is more. And right now might be the perfect time to put it to the test.
We live in such harried times. The constant demands on our time, energy and resources are surely enough to shorten or dim our lives by a few years here or there. It seems everyone I talk to feels behind the eight ball in at least one area of their life if not many. If they are on top of things at work, they are falling short at home. If they are able to keep a good home/work life balance, they fall short in taking care of themselves. If they are adept enough to take care of themselves in addition to work and home, they fall short in their social life, or spiritual life, or in taking care of elderly parents. There is just so much to do and it seemingly never ends but eventually, somethings got to give!
And it will! Something will give. Probably your health, maybe your relationship, maybe even your career, but definitely, most definitely what what is being sacrificed at this very moment is your quality of life!
I personally believe this endless drive to be all you can be began with the need for human achievement. Which is awesome, right? As a species we need to grow, to expand, and to reach new heights. I believe it also began with the desire for more. Along with the desire for more, comes the need to earn more so we can afford to have the more we seek. Bigger house, more cars, more clothes, more goods, better quality of life…..or so we think. Along with the need to earn more we have to work more which means both parents working, kids in daycare, more expenses and the perpetual cycle rolls on. Of course with both parents working they get to remain “engaged” with society and to stimulate their minds so this is not a bad thing, it’s just a “thing” and a contributing factor to our current crisis of being all you can be and then some. The other main contributor to this crisis is technology. Again, technology is amazing! Our lives and our reach are so expansive because of it. We can have a meeting with people on the other side of the planet while sitting in out pajamas in the comfort of our own living room….amazing! A doctor can perform surgery without ever making an incision…..amazing! The things we can do with technology today were unimaginable 100 years ago and one can’t help but wonder where will we be 100 years from today? But, technology is demanding. Personal computers have crept into our homes, our work places, our classrooms, our bathrooms, our purses and our pockets…..we can’t get away from technology if we tried or at least, we’d have to try very very hard and run real fast.
The million dollar question then (circling the globe in its pajamas) is: does technology and all these luxuries we have acquired really make our lives better or more meaningful? Does it truly add to the quality of our lives or does it leave us breathless? As in, a hamster on a wheel that can’t get off.
It is true, as humans we do have the need to grow and expand and reach new heights, but this doesn’t always have to be outside of ourselves, and in a material way. What about growing our mind? What about growing a better vision of a world in which we want to live? A world we feel good about leaving to our children? What about growing our patience? Our compassion? What about growing the qualities within ourselves that are truly going to give our life meaning and enhance the world around us? What about reaching new heights by letting go of judgement, racism, intolerance? What about taking the time to simply be with ourselves? Quiet. Reflective. Honest. And the time to sit with others in these same ways…..with sincerity and not looking at our phone every 5 seconds to see if we are needed somewhere else? What about the human need for love, kindness and understanding? What about the need to relate? And the need to be heard? And to be cared about? Instead however, we are too busy to grow these qualities on a deep and meaningful level. We are busy with our many roles and our achievements and our attainments, endeavoring to be the very best at everything we do. Endeavoring to reach our personal best by being all things to all people only, in the process we have forgotten who we are. We have become a blur and if we keep moving, perhaps no one will ask us these hard (but important) questions that we haven’t take the time to answer for ourselves.
Being overly busy is safe. It feels worthy and important. We can avoid a whole lot of personal growth, the work we are here to do, by keeping busy and trick ourselves into thinking we’re doing something meaningful……something that matters. But then, when we sit quietly and in the company of our own mind, we are uncomfortable and wonder why, and many years down the road we will still be uncomfortable and add to that regretful because we will still not have answers to the bigger questions of life. Only then, It is likely it will be too late.
“Being” rather than “doing” is the greatest gift you could give to yourself and others. Being is expansive in ways technology is not. Being is fulfilling in ways material goods are not. Being satisfies the need for human achievement in ways that degrees and awards do not. Simply “being” is enough or at least it should be. It is even more than enough! It is the MORE of the ‘less is more” equation. It is like breathing….the more you acknowledge your existence through your breath, the more you will want to breath really deep because the awareness of your conscious mind is so amazing.
The more you acknowledge your existence by allowing your being-ness to emerge, the more being you will be!