Honoring Our Laziness
Most of us are typically ashamed and intolerant of our laziness. We’re convinced that we should be doing our projects even when we feel no energy for such doing. So we push ourselves forward dragging our body-minds through the activities, or we find ourselves avoiding them with distractions and procrastination, in which numbing and forgetting are an essential component. At the end of such episodes of avoidance we often feel shame for indulging our laziness and vow to be more forceful with ourselves next time.
But what if we honored our laziness? What if we really listened to the absence of energy for a project without prejudging it as a vice or failure? What if we interrupted the cycle of our compulsive doing and avoiding doing to inquire into what was really true for us?
Having learned to define ourselves largely by what we do (“what do you do?”) we shouldn’t be surprised to find an uncomfortable impatience with not doing. After all, who are we if we’re doing nothing? A nobody? A nothing?
If we can bow to our laziness enough we might be blessed with an opportunity to explore what we are prior to our doing. We might even realize that we can be be here without needing to do things to create and affirm an identity.
When most of our action has been the result of forcing ourselves forward, it’s easy to imagine that realizing we don’t need to do things would lead to doing nothing. But there is another source of activity that requires no self-bullying. It is fueled by spontaneously arising inspiration rather than fear. Like when we play tennis for the joy of it rather than because we fear ill health.
When we attune to where our action is coming from we start to hear how we are being called to move. We notice when there is abundant energy for our action because it is aligned with what matters to the heart. And we become sensitive to the contrast when the energy for the action is being manufactured by stern-sounding thoughts about the need to accomplish things and not be lazy.
Just as the eating of food happens in natural response to hunger even when we give ourselves full permission to be lazy, all actions that genuinely nourish can happen without the need to beat ourselves forward.
Thank-you for this, Adam. Reading it had the same effect on me as I feel when I’m just sitting in your presence (online, that is!). Your writing is fluid, gentle and beautifully clear.