November 9, 2004

We claim to be so busy. What does it really mean, and is it
actually possible?

Being busy means that we are occupied at the moment.
Therefore, we are intensively carrying out the task at hand
and focusing our undivided attention to accomplish this task.
If we really are occupied and in a hurry, we need to concen-
trate and get rid of the tasks one at a time in order to move to
the next one. A metaphor from the computer world would be
a processor who is either idle or busy, never in between.

In ordinary language, our busyness (any relation to busi-
ness?) means something else. We mean that we should do or
achieve a lot of things in a certain time period. Most of the
time, however, we are not actually occupied in a way that
requires our undivided concentration and attention. Our
busyness has nothing to do with achieving and accomplishing
things. We simply mean that there is something in the future
we would prefer to be doing than what we are doing at that
particular moment. For instance, we have been occupied in a
meeting and now we are headed to the next task. We get stuck
in traffic, but we are not occupied by the traffic because our
mind is urging us to jump ahead and skip this unproductive
moment. Being in traffic is something we would rather not
do—we would much rather be accomplishing the next task.
This is how we are kept “busy.” Similarly, when we are finally
taking care of the next task, we are often not occupied here
either, but thinking about yet another task on our list.

Busyness is our own creation. It has nothing to do with the
real world and actual accomplishment and achievement.
Busyness simply consumes our time and makes us worry
about the future. We trade the current moment for something
we have no influence and control over—the unknown future.

We ignore the now time and, above all, get stressed over
something we can, at that moment, do nothing about. “Being
busy” does not help speed up the traffic while we drive to
another meeting or fast forward the current appointment if
we would prefer to be at the next occasion. Paradoxically,
when we are really accomplishing something that requires our
attention, we cannot be busy—we have no time to think
about “being busy”—we just carry out the task. Therefore, we
should forget the whole concept of busyness and focus on just
doing the things we have at hand.

Looking at our daily life from the outset, we are not really
occupied. Most of our time goes to moving from one place to
another or physically doing something—seldom is our full
and undivided attention required to do something. We actu-
ally have plenty of time to enjoy the moment and observe the
world around us. Stop being busy and occupy yourself for the
actual moment—you might even learn something new.
Busyness directs our attention to the future, which is just an
illusion created by us—it’s not real since we can only live in
the moment. And you are not busy if you have time to think
about being busy.

This is the original text, and an edited version can be found in the Fragments of Reality -book.