The Disease of Constantly Being Busy
We find ourselves in a stage of human evolution where we think that in order to “be in the world,” we have to be “constantly busy.” It’s become the norm to think that “the more we do, the more we are worth.” This finds its origin in a materialistic society where priority is given to the idea that “the more you have, the more you are.” Very few of us are aware of our inner self, the one that truly shows us who we are and why we are here. So are we faced with a social disease? The answer, according to various social studies that have been conducted, is yes.
“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying.
And this same flower that smiles today,
To-morrow will be dying…”
Children suffer from this disease, too
You ask people about their emotional state and they tell you, “I am very tired and doing a thousand things… I do not have time to think about it.” The complicated thing is not just realizing this, but that our children and youth are starting from a very early age to have these habits as well. This is destroying our quality of life and it makes it difficult to spend time on personal growth.
We live under norms and deadlines that push us to demand organizational and mental perfection. The challenge that I present to you here is based on asking yourself the following questions: How did we end up living this way? When did we forget that we are human “beings” and not human “doings”?
This disease of “constantly being busy” is intrinsically destructive for our health and well being. It weakens our ability to concentrate fully on those we love the most. It separate us from community. Being in a state of constant activity keeps us from becoming whole people.
Technology as an ally of “constantly being busy”
Starting in the 1950s, the new era of technological innovations began, products that promised to make our daily lives easier or simpler. Even so, today we continue to have the same amount of time or even less available than in past decades. For some of us, “the privileged ones,” the lines between our work and personal lives disappear. We always have a smartphone or tablet, never disconnecting and letting ourselves be present.
For some people, the reality is different because they need to carry out two jobs in different sectors to support their family. Twenty percent of children in the United States live in poverty and many of their parents work for minimum wage salaries to allow them to live a worthy life and to have something to fill their hungry bellies. These people could indeed be considered to be truly busy.
In some Muslim cultures, in order to ask a person how they are or who things are going, they say in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? Haal is a word to ask about the spiritual state in which someone’s heart finds itself. The translation into our language, then, would be, “How is your heart at this exact moment?” Therefore, our question “how are you?” means exactly that same thing that we wish to know about the other person.
When we ask with our heart, we are not interested in knowing how many emails you still have to answer or how much time it takes you to do something at work. We are sincerely asking how your soul is doing, how it is, and if it feels good, healthy. If you still remember that you are a human being in the here and now.
We invite you to put your hand on the shoulder of someone you love, look them in the eyes, and connect with them for a few seconds, as a remedy to this disease, the disease of “constantly being busy.” Tell them what your heart longs for and connect with theirs. At some point, we all need to remember that we are human beings who need the essence of others to feel more alive and fulfilled.
“Some are willing to do anything but to live here and now.”