Cutting the Fat

The busy culture.  “Hey, how’s it going, ya staying busy?”  “Sorry I couldn’t get back to you, I’ve been crazy busy lately.”  Busy this.  Busy that.  It’s almost like a rite of passage in society.  If you’re not busy, you’re probably not living a productive life.   What are we really doing, though, in all our busyness?  The hamster in the wheel is busy as well, but is it really productive?

Sometimes I feel like that.  But what am I really getting done that matters?  Am I just going through the motions because it’s what I ‘should’ be doing?  The rat race is exhausting.  When getting caught up in it, we need to stop and reflect inward.  The question we must ask ourselves during these ‘busy’ times is:

“Is this necessary?”

Is what I am  thinking right now necessary?  Is what I am doing right now necessary?  If not, what is necessary?  Why is it so hard to do that which is necessary, but so easy to do the other stuff that is mainly just bullshit?

Imagine what you could get done if you only did the stuff that was necessary.  I’m not saying we should just work, work, work.  Spending time with your friends or loved ones may be necessary.  Reading a book that helps our situation may be necessary.  More sleep may be necessary.  Leisure may be necessary.     Just be sure it’s necessary.

It reminds me of sword training.  In Samurai sword duels, there was no room for any moves, thoughts, emotions, twitches, or anything that wasn’t absolutely essential to the task at hand (preserving your life… which usually meant taking the one facing you).  Any wasted movement or wayward thought was an opening for your adversary to cut you down.

Meditation for them was for cutting the fat of their minds and, in turn, physical movements, and, in turn, way of life, in order to survive and lead the best life they could.  It had nothing to do with ‘manifestation’ or ‘the law of attraction’ or materializing that brand new red car, concepts which the charlatans of our day have made a lot of money on (and bought their own red cars).   I digress… anyways…  the best Aikidoists I’ve trained with barely seem like they’re moving at all.  Every movement is concise and necessary.

Life is short.  Do the stuff that matters.  Cut the fat of everything else.  Do great work.  Reflect inward often to constantly re-evaluate, rinse, repeat.


Thanks to  dcafe for the image!



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  1. …Japanese businessmen in the 80s and 90s were killing themselves by overworking–lesson: balance is key. 😀

  2. Pingback: Like Your Life Depends On It »

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