As living beings, we are continuously adjusting so as to create balance in ourselves and in our lives. Whether inhaling or exhaling, asleep or awake, we are always in the process of restabilizing. This process of rebalancing is such a core aspect of being alive that it is one of the primary things that differentiates living beings from machines.
Machines are tools used to convert inputs into outputs.
While machines may require maintenance and repair to continue functioning as intended, living beings require rest and rebalancing to continue being alive. While machines exist in order to process things, living beings exist in order to live.
Whenever we treat ourselves and other living beings as machines, we tend to create illnesses in the pursuit of increased output by not allowing for sufficient rest and restabilization. By repeating this pattern of behavior, we get used to overextending ourselves, even though it diminishes our health and well-being.
Part of what is actually happening is that humanity is beginning to realize that living beings are not machines and cannot sensibly be treated as if they were. The drive to increase productivity cannot ceaselessly extract more labor from living beings without causing harm, both to them and to the rest of our world. Instead, productivity can only continually increase by increasing the productivity of machines rather than by increasing the busyness of living beings.
Being busy is distracting.
The busier you are, the less aware you are able to be outside of your focus of attention. Magicians have known this for millennia and have used it to notable effect in their tricks and performances — and the same is true of governments. When the status quo is unsustainable to maintain, there are essentially two choices that governments are left with. Either governments must no longer maintain the status quo or they must distract their populace sufficiently to prevent a popular insurgency from ending the government.
One of the easiest ways to distract people is to keep them busy. And, this is exactly why so many of us keep ourselves so very busy. As long as we are distracted, we avoid facing the truth of ourselves and our situation. As long as we are distracted, we can excuse ourselves for being irresponsible towards the things that we do not allow ourselves to acknowledge.
When we free ourselves from busyness, we give ourselves space for both rest and realization. When we are rested and undistracted, we have the space and time to realize who we are, what we are, and how we are in service. One of the blessings of the Covid pandemic is that it granted large numbers of people enough space and time to rest and realize more about key aspects of themselves and our world. Of course, having previously neglected those same aspects, many were not pleased by what they discovered. Yet, that is precisely why it was so valuable for them to do so.
Throughout most of our existence, human beings have had a lot more time for rest and realization than is common in our industrialized world. Instead of the unlimited continuous streams of entertainment available to us, entertainment was limited and occasional. Instead of an always-on work culture spanning the globe, work was contained within daily life. Instead of communicating through a constantly available global network, communication was intermittent and primarily local.
Part of what is actually happening is that humanity is starting to value rest and realization more highly. The “work hard; play hard; go-go-go” mentality is dissipating as people come to realize why they are working so hard, why they are playing so hard, and where they are going. Instead of idolizing the processing power of machines, what is actually happening is that humanity is in the process of realizing that there is nothing more valuable than life itself.