The Art of Digesting, A Life Full of Patience

Just give it to me! Give me the damn advice and get on with it! AGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! I imagined Cartman from South Park.

It kind of feels like that sometimes. We are so hurried all the time. It’s 8:18 am for me as I write this. And, at precisely 8:30 am, I will leave my laptop, get up, and put my running sandals on to go for a blessed, refreshing, and deeply loved morning run.

This leaves me with just a couple of minutes to write now. I’ve been reading an interesting article about the great French blogger Michel de Montaigne for the last hour or so. Preparing. Preparing to write about something, looking for a golden nugget of advice. Advice that often comes not straightforwardly, but tangentially.

When I set about looking for ideas, I usually believe I am looking for something specific in the texts I read, but then, as if sparkled by the ideas of the great writers, my mind bursts into flames, and from the fire throws the idea that I was really looking for to my streams of thought. And today, that idea is the one of digestion, life’s digestion, the proper digestion of life. The idea of mindful chewing. Which can only be practiced through patience.

There is no way I will be able to finish this in 10 minutes. Nor should I want to finish it in such a short amount of time. I’ve written quite a few articles in a rush in the past, and they just don’t really click. And the reason for that, I believe, is that I am not patient enough with my words and with my thoughts.

If we were to use food as an analogy, I would say that I find myself not chewing my food, I don’t let my writing happen as it needs to happen. I don’t pause and think about what I want to say. I don’t reflect on whether my words feel true or not. I just want to get to the other side, and fast. Eating everything in one big gulp and on to the next thing.

And that is precisely the problem.

Why do we want to be so efficient? Why do we always have to be doing something for the sake of something else and not the thing itself? Always looking for returns?

The problem we are dealing with here is that we never truly experience what we are doing at any given moment, to the fullest. Because we are always striving to some point in the future where we think we will finally be at peace with our work.

But that is never the case. Work never stops. The more efficient you get at doing anything, the more of that anything you are going to find on your table.

You cannot say that life is anything more than what you are conscious of, that is, what you pay attention to. The problem is, that if we don’t live life patiently, and give time to the activities that we fill it with, in the end, it will feel as if you had arrived at a 5-star restaurant, and eaten as if you were eating at McDonald’s, fast and cheap, all but nourishing.

And just so, it is with life. We are pushed, and we push ourselves between us to live it fast, as fast as we can, and it is tedious, and tiring.

And we tend to believe that, if we just were fast enough, efficient enough, we would be able to get to a point where we could just slow down. But that point never comes. Studies show that the richer you are, the busier you tend to be. Always busy looking for efficiency in your company or your investments. Making yourself busy.

Busy has become a sort of virtue. But, it is a virtue worth questioning. When you are busy, you cannot say that you are absorbed, which would be a good thing, for absorption rewards you with contemplation of life through work or craft. It is the very chewing of life I am speaking of.

In comparison, busyness is a state completely opposed to contemplation. In your busyness, you are a scared animal, that due to its fear, is forever reacting to the next thing. Stressed, in a frenzied state, always ready for the next thing.

Efficiency in doing stuff is not efficiency in living well.

Life requires attention and dedication if it is to be lived well.

What do you want to be?

Would be an excellent question to feel that inner void that we all feel. Do you want to be rich? Fair enough, a lot of us want that as well.

Can you be rich now? I believe so. Rich is as rich does. You could switch your definition of rich, from having X amount of dollars in the bank, to working in your company, today. Rich people are rich because of the actions that they take that generate value, and therefore money for themselves. But, it is a kind of trap, to want to be rich, and to think that being rich means having a certain amount of money, and just that.

It is a trap, because, you can never really get there, you can never really be satisfied. Look at the richest people on earth, they are all wanting more.

But if instead, you focus on being, today, the person that works on his business, and generates value today, even if tinily, you will be rich today.

What do you want to be? What could you do today to be that? Do it. And chew it hard. Digest your experience.

If you live this way, you will be able to focus on today. You will be able to have the cake and eat it too. Don’t fall into the trap of busyness my brother, we will repent if we do. We are already there.

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