In the past, as we become aware of a problem in our life, we have been taught to solve the problem as soon as possible. Our minds will immediately begin to come up with several different options on how to tackle the problem and we usually choose the one that we thinks fits best at this time. Furthermore, even small issues become big in our minds, as we place critical importance on tasks that may add very little value to anyone’s life. This is the modern man’s dilemma, not enough time in the day to do everything that needs to be done (in our minds).
But what really “needs” to be done and how is our busy bee mindset helping to accomplish our biggest goals? Let’s take a moment to access the urgencies we place upon ourselves and just how helpful (or not), they are to live our life to its fullest.
Fundamentally, we know we must eat and rest, and in order to do that most of us choose to provide for our needs by working at a job. This is opposed to what our ancient forefathers might have done to hunt or gather from the earth. So, that’s fine in concept – we have a different way to provide for our basic needs and everyone can agree that eating, drinking, and sleep is a minimum we must to in order to survive and live as human being.
But no one wants to live minimally, and so we add standards and goals for ourselves that hopefully add value to our lives and to the lives of others. This is the part that gets a little grey and muddled because once we get past that first layer of fulfilling basic wants and needs, then we range from being satisfied with modest comfort to decadent luxury. And ironically, both standards can cause intense stress, pressure and unhappiness, because the reasons and the methods we use to survive beyond our basic needs begins to be driven by the standard itself, instead of by what is really necessary to provide love, happiness, and comfort. Unfortunately, for most of us, we are not raised to live to love, or live to serve. Generally our standard of success is measured by what we gain, which may include love, peace, or joy, but is usually centered on increasing our living circumstances.
In our culture, there is a mindset that implies that the craftiest, most driven, ambitious, aggressive, and hard-working people are the ones that will win the day and achieve their goals. “Early bird gets the worm”, “Nothing gained without sacrifice”, “With hard work comes great rewards”. This hard working, busy, and exhaustive mindset might get you to your goal at the end of the day, but then we find the bar has been moved again and we are back at it the next day. Endless toil is not living, even if it for a grand prize, it is another form of merely surviving with fancier and prettier game.
There is another living concept that ancient masters of great wisdom have taught for centuries and that concept is called, the way of least effort. Deepak Chopra in his book, “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” calls this the “Law of Least Effort.” Deepak says, “This law is based on the fact that nature’s intelligence functions with effortless ease and abandoned carefreeness. This is the principle of least action, of no resistance. This is, therefore, the principle of harmony and love. When we learn this lesson from nature, we easily fulfill our desires.”
Ancient master Lao Tzu states this concept of least effort as so – “An integral being knows without going, sees without looking and accomplishes without doing”. And psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi describes Lao Tzu’s state as being in “the flow”, using the metaphor of a water current carrying them along in whatever activity they are engaged in.
What these teachers are saying is that our concepts of busyness, multi-tasking, and struggling to achieve anything, is really just a lot of pretentious noise in the universal scheme of things. It is wasted effort and more than that, it is wasted time. Time and effort, our two most valuable assets in a life lived fully. Furthermore, getting lost in our struggles, we often do not get our problems solved or our tasks completed as desired, and the urgency then compounds with this anxious mindset as more things appear to be needed in order to reach our final goals.
Utilizing a mindset of least effort to perform our work, or to apply to our problems, is not just a newfangled method to try, it is a complete lifestyle change. The least effort mindset revolves around being very present as we go about our moments and pausing to allow in our higher intuition to direct our actions. The law of least effort requires us to review our priorities and understand what we truly value in our lives. Sometimes what we “think” is valuable to us, is really only a means to what is truly valuable. For instance, a common example of misguided priorities and values is our attitude about money. Many feel that a lot of money equates to a better life, a happier life, when in reality money has very little to do with happiness. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with money, but when the goal is the money, as opposed to how the money could add value to our lives; then we get into the “struggle” to keep getting more, because when money is the primary goal, you will never get enough.
Below are a few tips to re-direct our problem solving skills and our daily living to embrace life in a more natural and free flowing manner. We can always gain great insights from all of life’s lessons from looking to one our greatest teachers, nature. Nature teaches us that life grows best when you accept what is in this moment and allow the processes to unfold as they will. So instead of saying in our minds “I must do this or do that” to solve a problem or achieve a goal, our actions come from the natural flow of being present and taking the next needed step. It is effortless, it just comes. It is doing nothing, yet acting from the natural flow and wisdom of the moment. In some cases, this may literally mean, doing nothing, by allowing the situation unfold on its own.
- Learn and practice to be very present in the moment. Try to be aware when you catch yourself reliving the past or becoming anxious about the future. This is a key skill in personal and spiritual growth for many areas in our life. It is an easy skill but hard to accomplish because it is not what we have been accustomed to doing. We literally have to retrain the brain and our bodies to embrace the present moment and stay there.
- Accept the moment as it is right now. This does not mean you have to agree to living in a condition you find bad or painful, but is does means that you must not resist what is currently happening. From this acceptance comes wisdom and direction. Resisting the moment by denying it, ignoring it, or deflecting it out to others or some condition will only defer the moment you are resisting to a later time. Accept it wholly now, and then you can truly move on with grace and peace.
- When you are present and accepting of this moment, what happens is you begin to open to a natural action of what needs to be done. Sometimes no thought is even needed as your next action is a natural response to the flow of the situation. This is why being very present and accepting of the current moment is so helpful in solving problems. When we resist and struggle against the problem, we get caught up in a little mini loop of suffering about the problem. By accepting the problem, embracing it even, we open up a door of higher intuition and wisdom that cannot come to us when we are not listening (because we are still struggling with pros/cons on the problem or issue).
- Learn to embrace stillness and inner calm into your moments. Being still or extremely calm does not mean you are boring or in a small coma, it simply means that your mind is constantly open and in the present. You lose the whirly mind turmoil and carry instead a great sense of calm into your actions.
- Try to not take life so seriously. Life is meant to be a joy, not a burden. Intend it that way, then just walk into your intention.
Finally, practice these skills often. You have spent a lifetime getting into habits that create a mentality of hustle-bustle, busyness, struggling, anxiety, and stress. Chill out, breathe deeply, often. Continue practicing and don’t give up. When you begin to see some changes in your approaches that are more life affirming and helpful, crank up the love, peace, and grace! THIS is your time, now be there for it – don’t give any more of it away to stress, useless worry, and anxiety. Live Free Now!!!!
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