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The Infidelity of Busyness

  • Jon Kabat-ZinnEmail author

To commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of modern times.

Thomas Merton

“I’m keeping myself busy.” Lots of retired people say this kind of thing, probably to reassure themselves and others that they are not at loose ends and drifting into oblivion just because they aren’t going to work every day, or receiving a paycheck.

One day I heard these words coming up from some deep crevice in my own mind and before I could stop them, they went right into the telephone.

“Wait a minute,” I wanted to cry out. “What am I saying, and who the hell is saying this?” I am not keeping myself busy. If anything, I am attempting to keep myself unbusy, and finding that something of a full-time job. I moved away from pathological levels of busyness and doing, only to discover that it is not so easy to demur to either the outer or inner occasions that seem so attractive, so necessary, so important, so reasonable, and so containable—each...


Copyright information

© Jon Kabat-Zinn 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for MindfulnessUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA

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