Monday, January 17, 2022

Multi-Tasking... Really?

by Tim Che'

We live in a culture that highly values busy-ness (aka business). And multi-tasking is "all the rage" among super-moms and fast-paced executives.

It's like a badge of honor to be juggling endless things... like the clowns in the circus spinning plates or juggling bowling pins.

Todays TV shows are idolizing characters that easily breeze along while answering to an insurmountable amount of decisions in lofty offices of government and business.

I, personally, have never been impressed by such acts of intellectual bravado. And, I have always questioned whether it

is actually possible "multi-task"? 

I saw a Myth Busters TV show, that the kids showed me, that disproved the notion, in their Myth-buster ways, which showed more of a 'Rapid Tasking' than multi-tasking... a kind of quickly jumping back and forth with a high-speed (perhaps over- caffeinated) mind.

But when you watch a mother of 5 little ones feeding the baby, while making lunch, and talking on the phone to her office manager... what is really going on?

The Sad Clown

The inspiration for this article came to mind with the recent passing of Robin Williams, a self-professed sad-clown, who possessed the most extreme examples of this type of  mental hyper-drive.

It would be difficult to find an equal of rapid-fire intellect anywhere on earth. The question that came to mind was... did his extraordinary talent and creativity come from the creative right-brain? Or was it rather an extreme expression of a left-brained intellect that was totally out of control?

The intellect can be VERY clever but is limited to thought and therefor only able to rearrange that which already exists. It is not able to create anything new because all thought is based on language which is only of the past. I ask this question because I read the stories of Mr. William's long struggle with emotional issues and deep depression and I have noticed over the years that some people who struggled with negative emotional states seem to have well developed and over-active intellects.

 ALL emotions expressed are preceded by the programmed mind in response to the stimulus of thought or the environment. If you cannot control your thinking you will not be able to control your emotional responses. I don't pretend to know what his mental state was or is... I just find it interesting and wonder what true creativity is and where it actually comes from.

Neville says that creation is finished, and that creativity is just a greater receptivity to that which
exists eternally... which rings my truth bell.

I remember meeting a woman who displayed deep, emotional grief, and negative feelings that were debilitating. She said they came out of nowhere. She had a mind that was super-hyper-fast. When we explained to her that emotions were the result of thinking, she claimed she was not aware of any thoughts before the feelings. We suspected that her mind was so fast that she did not consciously have awareness of the mental motions that triggered her e-motions. She was tortured by her ideas and concepts which were so layered in a hyper-drive mind that she could no longer control it. It was sad to watch and she could not hear our counsel.

As our culture continues to develop the intellect and the left-brain, it will likely drive out emotion and we will be left with its callous brutality of competition and efficiency. If the emotions are left unbalanced by a healthy intellect, the emotionally immature will be driven into an abyss of powerlessness and despair. True intelligence is the harmonic balance of the two and the only way to create that balance is  through the cultivation of awareness.

I think it is important to make the distinction between,

Things we are conscious of, and, 
Things we are doing unconsciously

or automatically. Take, for instance, driving in a car down a freeway and being engaged in a fascinating conversation when you suddenly realize that 20 minutes has gone by and you weren't aware that you were driving at all!! Is that multi-tasking? You were conscious of the conversation... and unconscious of the driving and both were happening at the same time. So, the obvious question is, what is the value of doing things unconsciously? And who is 'Present' during the unconscious activity?

If you are talking on the phone to your mother while feeding the kids and cleaning the kitchen, who or what are you in conscious communion with at any given point? It probably varies rapidly and the true communion of being present with someone is most likely absent.

It may serve a purpose... to "Get 'er Done!"  

But is the quality and depth of one moment of a life's experience sacrificed as we try to CRAM more and more activities into our day?

Have you ever heard the saying, "If you want something done, give it to a busy person"? The busy person seems to have a habit of focused task-mastering, and I have witnessed the blessing of having a busy person get something done for me in a timely fashion, but as I gain more awareness through life, I find more value in just being present with the task at hand.

It's a strange phenomena as we watch people tell us with beaming pride how busy they are... how many phone calls they have had, how many emails, how many meetings.

The EGO seems to love it!

 But where are WE while the ego is engorging itself with more and more content, more and more busy-ness?  Perhaps we are quietly in the background hoping there will come a time when even the ego collapses in exhaustion?

Good luck with that one... the body is likely to give out long before the ego. It is those same people who will also complain about how they have too much to do and that the burden is just too heavy. Most of the time it feels like a soul crying for acknowledgement...pleading for the approval by others.

In our culture, one is measured by their output which is displayed through material expression. There seems to be a premium placed on how much productivity someone can handle. Ever notice how the 'super-busy' like to congregate and exchange their conquest and victories? Certainly nothing wrong with that but at what price?

And who is it that pays?

 It also seems to go hand in hand with that nasty little notion of mental programming... "You have to work hard for money".  As if we are not worthy of wealth unless we have earned it through our effort and labor. Who ever came up with that anyway? Ever know, or hear, of anyone who had a lot of money and never did anything for it? Of course you have.

But WHY do we not measure a persons capacity to love? Their ability to create? Their balance? Their expression of health? Their resolve for being present?

I'm not  against Multi-tasking and certainly have done it to a certain extent. I just wonder if people realize that there is a space, outside of the busy-ness of the day... beyond all tasks... past all concepts... above all relationships... in the quiet stillness of who "I AM".  A space that can be occupied at any and all times. In a presence that breathes the air of reverence. And in that place,

We will choose to meet you there!

The following quote from Krishnamurti is a perfect fit for this conversation and it just so happened that I read it the day I finished this article.


"Training the intellect does not result in intelligence. Rather, intelligence comes into being when one acts in perfect harmony, both intellectually and emotionally. There is a vast distinction between intellect and intelligence. Intellect is merely thought functioning independently of emotion. When intellect, irrespective of emotion, is trained in any particular direction, one may have great intellect, but one does not have intelligence, because in intelligence there is the inherent capacity to feel as well as to reason; in intelligence both capacities are equally present, intensely and harmoniously.If you bring your emotions into business, you say, business cannot be well managed or be honest. So you divide your mind into compartments: in one compartment you keep your religious interest, in another your emotions, in a third your business interest which has nothing to do with your intellectual and emotional life. Your business mind treats life merely as a means of getting money in order to live. So this chaotic existence, this division of your life continues. If you really used your intelligence in business, that is, if your emotions and your thought were acting harmoniously, your business might fail. It probably would. And you will probably let it fail when you really feel the absurdity, the cruelty, and the exploitation that is involved in this way of living.Until you really approach all of life with your intelligence, instead of merely with your intellect, no system in the world will save man from the ceaseless toil for bread"
 - Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

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