Busy-ness is Laziness
Laziness and its companions, lethargy and sloth are such paralyzing habits that they can make a highly intelligent, a very rich, or even a very religious person completely destroy their life and fortune. Laziness can take many forms, such as idleness, apathy, procrastination and inertia amongst others. It may stem from boredom, tiredness or world-weariness, but underlying all of this is fear. Paradoxically, laziness can be a form of inner restlessness and peacelessness, a lack of purpose, direction and meaning. Thus, conquering this merciless habit is the key to happiness and inner contentment.
Laziness as explained in Wikipedia is ‘a disinclination to activity or exertion despite having the ability to do so’. Retired people who sit in an armchair on the beach all day would not necessarily be deemed lazy, they are reaping the reward of a lifetime of activity and their old age somehow gives them permission to sit back and enjoy the sea and sun! Yet if a young person were to be sitting in his place, most would question why he was a lazy bum!
Yes, it is interesting how we all seem to want a carrot every morning to wake us up. Not a carrot as in your morning juice, but a carrot of enticement as in some kind of motivation that pushes us out of bed and out of our homes. Perhaps it is that hefty pay packet, or perhaps it is the sheer joy of fulfilling your passion and dream. Yet just think: if that were not there, would you still be motivated to jump out of bed so early in the morning?
Some think that laziness is about bad time management, but really it’s about self-management. To overcome laziness, I need to create a high sense of self. I need to do it for me. When I make my bed in the morning, I do it for me because I deserve and desire to live in a tidy environment. When I wash and place the dishes away, I do it for me, because I deserve to live in a clean place. I do these things from a place of self-respect and not just because of what others might think.
Laziness is not simply inactivity. The spiritual aspirant may not appear to do a lot sometimes, but please do not confuse sitting for hours in meditation on some holy mountain as a form of laziness. Those who have found their calling, and can sit still with a purpose are not lazy, but instead they realise that ‘being’ is a most important precursor to ‘doing’, if your ‘doing’ is to be of significance in the world. However, just as outer laziness can ruin a life, so spiritual laziness can be an even greater downfall.
In Hindi, the term for making effort, ‘pursharath’ literally means ‘for the sake of the soul’. Hence, when I do something, let it be for the sake of the soul and not just as a chore or labour.
In religions, laziness is considered to be one of the major vices. Christianity tells us that sloth is one of the seven deadly sins as it can breed poverty as well as wickedness, for we all know an empty mind is a devils workshop.
In the Quran the Arabic term كَسَل (kasal) meaning laziness and inactivity is the opposite of ‘jihad-al-nafs’, the struggle against the self. In other words, against one’s ego.
In Buddhism, the term Kausidya is commonly translated as ‘laziness’ or ‘spiritual sloth’, meaning that even though one may be a workaholic and spending 16 hours a day at work, yet, if that one gives little or no time to cultivating virtue or purification of mind, then he is said to be lazy.
In fact, a wise old lady once told me ‘busy-ness is laziness’, which after some reflection I found to be true. When we want to avoid doing the inner work we get busy in the mundane.
So let ustake a reality check on our spiritual journey: Are we not doing certain things despite knowing, and despite being able to at this point? How enthusiastic are we about cleaning up our soul? Are we procrastinating in this very important activity? And if so why? Is it due to some fear or pain?
Take time in meditation to have a look at the dark side, ask some deep questions of yourself, and shift your focus to something meaningful and exciting that will stir you out of your stupor and sluggishness.
To end with some humour, a wit by the name of Hal Cranmer writes, ‘For all these arguments against laziness, it is amazing we work so hard to achieve it. Even those hard-working Puritans were willing to break their backs every day in exchange for an eternity of lying around on a cloud and playing the harp.’
It’s time… to get ‘busy’ in overcoming laziness!
© It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK
(All pictures courtesy of google images)