Resist Absent-minded Busyness

Resist Absent-minded Busyness

abmibuResist Absentminded Busyness. Hmmmm… What does that mean?

In the Brainpickings article that includes this “elevating resolution”  Soren Kierkegaard says this: 

“Of all ridiculous things, the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy — to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work.”

and this:

“The unhappy one is absent… It is only the person who is present to himself that is happy.”

Ah, Kierkegaard. Existentialist. Philosopher. Yoga Instructor?

Well, why not? If you’ve ever taken a yoga class you see where I’m going. What’s the first thing the instructor tells you as you begin your practice? …OK, besides to breathe…

To be present in the moment. And being present seems to me to be the exact opposite of absentminded busyness.

There was an article published in the New York Times that says “busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness.” In other words we associate busyness with productivity, title, and importance.

But busyness goes beyond our ego. We use the term to contrast things we like and don’t like. If I say I spent the day doing yoga, meditating, and reading you’d assume I was not busy. But if I spent it catching up on emails, projects, and meetings, then I sound like I was busy.  

In the practice of yoga we learn to calm our busyness and become present in our body. Physical tension fades away and we may also experience an emotional release as a result of that.


I know when I first started my yoga practice, I had this notion that I was going to learn all the poses right away. That was totally a busyness way to think, and in no way focused on the present. The practice of yoga is not to get done and move on to the next thing. It’s purpose is to combine your breath and the poses in order to experience exactly where you are at that moment.

Pema Chödrön, a Buddhist nun, known for her charming and down-to-earth interpretation of Tibetan Buddhism, says: 

“Welcome the present moment as if you had invited it. It is all we ever have so we might as well work with it rather than struggling against it. We might as well make it our friend and teacher rather than our enemy.”

The intention I have set for the year is to establish my own home yoga practice, and working on that has really made a difference in the way I choose being present, over being busy. 

Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment… Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life – and see how life starts suddenly to start working for you rather than against you.  — Eckhart Tolle

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