I was feeling bored this afternoon doing nothing awaiting the arrival of the Lunar New Year. The mind just can’t accept doing nothing – just simply in the state of being – but instead wanting to do something to bring “usefulness” into the picture. For that it felt restless and irritated doing nothing. The mind just want to occupy itself, at least something it defines as useful so that it does not feel guilty doing nothing.
That is an incessant addictive mind of wanting to do something, all the time – the state of grasping as what the Buddha defined. Like a hamster on a treadmill, the journey of grasping has no meaning except meaninglessness. The addictive mind never see the benefit of simply being in the moment, making peace with the present. It has an ingrained idea that doing nothing is simply wasting of time. If I fall into its trap I will be unconsciously lead to do something unbeneficial, probably switching on the tv and watching something to occupy time. That too makes me feel guilty as it wanted to do something “beneficial”.
Simply being in the present moment with awareness, observing this addictive mind, in a non-doing state, is therapeutic and peace itself. The mind can be wanting to do something out of doing nothing – both are the opposite sides of the same coin – but so long as I am aware of it, I can just be with it, without identifying with it. The nature of the mind is constantly in doing. The nature of awareness is in being. The work of wisdom is to allow both to take place without fixing or stopping the incessant doing. Wisdom allows the dance to cease itself rather than trying to stop the dance. It is impossible to stop the dance of wanting as what it does is only inhibiting the force, not totally annihilating it, making the next arising even stronger.
There are moments where the mind defines boredom of doing nothing as meaningless. But wait a minute – it is not the true meaningless that is coming from the space of understanding or wisdom. It is a meaning the addictive mind gives to doing nothing and wanting to do more – and when it could not do further than that, it gives a meaning of meaningless. In other words, the meaningless is derived from “wasting time”. But that is simply an aversion to what is.
If I have not being clear in noticing it, I would have been tricked or lied into thinking I am observing from wisdom. Tricky eh? The path is laced with lots of imitation, of egoic pattern of trapping me in the incessant desire for existence – the addictive mind that is in constant state of withdrawal syndrome, the grasping state of wanting more and more.
There are two ways of viewing meaninglessness – either as a response or a reaction. Both have different result. Wisdom responds to the incessant wanting to do something, as meaningless. Whereas ego reacts to the doing nothing as meaningless – it is a meaning it gives to doing nothing, compelling me to do more. One work on the cause, the other effect. One comes from the space of peace, the other from the space of addiction.
Awareness with clear mindedness is key in differentiating both.