Over the course of my life I see how I have come up with little schedules that occupy my mind, my time, my space....my life. What does that mean? It means simply that we as human beings in the western world find little time to truly pause. Even if we have free time...completely unattached from any schedule, we will find something in our head to fill the space...A friend of mine said years ago that he never had guilt free time. When he had a quiet moment he always felt like he NEEDED to be doing something else. Do you ever feel that way? I know I have many times.
In my practice I see how mindfulness meditation helps me focus. It is by truly practicing the art of "doing nothing" that I get to the root of my spirit, the root of all my suffering and the knowledge that I am peacefully on the right path for me. I am part of the Rochester Zen Center and after leaving my morning meditation and chanting at the Center, I rushed off to breakfast with a friend and got involved in about a thousand things, including my 19 year old son's moving into his first apartment. Why do I bring that up? Because it is our nature to always find a reason to be busy. We have been taught since birth that we MUST be occupied or, at least, doing something positive or constructive. "Idle hands make idle minds." Here's a secret....THAT IS NOT TRUE! Let your hands be as idle as they want! True happiness comes from actually knowing that I am on the right path. Maintaining a healthy mediation practice is the right path for me but that doesn't mean that I have to constantly be chanting, meditating, reading, walking, praying or anything else that ends in "ing."