Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Devil's Tool

                                "Idle time is the Devil's tool."
When I was growing up, one of my best friend’s mom would always say this to us. Of course at thirteen, I just felt she was telling us we were being lazy. Now as a 43yr old man, I realize the wisdom in her words. When we are busy doing something we are forced to become fully present in the moment. While fully present in that moment all of our other thoughts cease to exist and time is lost. The result is usually a sense of fulfillment; happiness if you will. On the other hand, what happens when we become idle? We sit and think. We think about the future and what might be, sometimes creating fear and anxiety. We sit and think about the past, creating a sense of longing, sadness and sometimes despair. When my friend’s mom said idle time was the devils tool, I think she was also implying that if we had nothing to do, we might find something negative to do and get into trouble. She was right. As a result of thinking about the future and or past, one might decide that they need to do something to try to correct the past and or what they believe to be the inevitable future. That decision can involve, and many times will involve, making a bad decision.

When it comes to raising my kids this has absolutely been the case. When we have kept them constantly busy with schooling, sports and personal activities, they have stayed positive and happy. On the other hand when there has been the least bit of inactivity, they complain about being tired more, they lack motivation, they seem almost bored with life and at times just lay around waiting for something to happen to them. This is no different for me. When I am constantly moving and busy, I am fulfilled and happy. I sometimes hear a voice that tries to tell me I need a break or that I wish I could just lie around and do nothing for a day. I’ve come to learn that that is the voice of death (figuratively speaking). That it is the devil in, “Idle time is the devil’s tool.” If I feed that idea, it will grow out of control and I will find myself wanting more and more time to rest. It has an insatiable appetite. On the other hand if I push forward and ignore it, I become present in what I am doing and a natural flow or tempo is created. The rest and down time, is self dictated and when it arrives, I am present in that moment as well.

It took me 30 years to get it. Idle time truly is the Devil's tool and therefore Work and activity can only be God’s gift.


rolybar said...

Carpe Diem, in a sense. I couldn't agree more. I meditated for many years of my life and I still do on occasion... which seems paradoxical, since I was keeping busy by essentially trying to do and think absolutely nothing at all. LOL

Anyhow, what I discovered was that "thought" is the bridge between life and death. It seems like something we should already know... but I realized that it's something that we don't fully "acknowledge" unless you bring it out of the subconscious and make it a part of your daily life and thought process.

I believe that keeping the brain active, in whatever form that may be; whether it's at the gym, at the movies, playing chess, reading a book, or simply organizing Legos with a child - it doesn't matter. The important thing is to absorb the experience and learn from all of it. I believe that's what makes life worth living.

Otherwise, as you said, you are simply a living manifestation of the inevitable end that awaits us all.

Alex said...

You keep leaving comments like this and I will be out of a job soon. Seriously though, very well said. Thanks for commenting. If you like what you read become a follower. It motivates me to see that bothers are reading.

Anonymous said...

That lady was absolutely right, idle hands are the devil's tool but there has to be a balance as well. We have to occupy our time with things that will not only keep us away from mischief or temptation, but also help us to grow spiritually. But we have to be aware because sometimes these same things which we occupy our time with are the ones the devil uses against us.

Great post Alex!