Jun 16, 2020

My empty mind

A few weeks ago, I did an online meditation course in which we met every day for a week for two hours to meditate and discuss various different techniques. 

After doing that course and reflecting on outside work activities that I truly enjoy, I came to realise that there were many activities I engaged in that were more for the purpose of keeping me busy than legitimate interest. At the time, I didn't think I had too much to loose by committing to activities that I didn't have a strong interest in. I picked up Chinese  class because knowing to speak chinese is generally a good to have. I went to learn rollerblading with friends because it's cool to be able to rollerblade. In other words, I was as easy target for activities that weren't essential to my survival or even to my well being, but were just "nice to haves". My thinking was that worst case, I would loose time and money that I may not have spent on anything useful per se anyway. 

However, lately, because of lesser activites to choose from and the consequence of my meditation course, I found myself loosing interest in some activities that I once thought were a good use of time. They suddenly lost meaning, and the initial allure they had of keeping me busy no longer felt like meaning enough. So I ended up dropping a few activities and not picking up new ones in place. As a result, I had fewer things to do and more time on my hands. 

In some ways, this felt quite strange because I was used to having every minute of every day full with activities. Even during moments I had something to do, I noticed an emptiness because I had fewer things to think about and lesser multi-tasking to do than usual. My mind was noticeably less busy at all times, which almost made me feel less useful to world. I hear that many people tend to feel more valuable if they are busy all the time, so that is likely the same societal norm that made me feel less useful. 

At first I thought of this as a negative thing that I should try to resolve by reading or learning more with my spare time, which would at least lead to my mind being less empty, even if I weren't being productive all the time per se. I also started to socialise online a bit more, which certainly made me feel more busy.

But recently, when Singapore announced that it would be significantly reducing measures implying that we could socialise again, I suddenly remembered that feeling of having a lot to do. Somehow, that feeling of being busy no longer feels good or meaningful because there is no space in my head to think about things that actually matter to me. There are times when I want to think about equal access to education for people in poor countries, because that is something that truly matters to me and feels meaningful. But it's been a long time since I've thought about that given all the time I spend keeping myself "busy" with things that I don't care half as much about. Having a lot of activities to do again almost felt like noise that keeps me from thinking about things that truly matter. So as far as I can, I'd like to try and keep my empty mind while I can. 

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