Ask: Can you comment on the satisfaction of accomplishment as a trap?
“The other day was for me one of those high energy days where I found myself engaged in one project after another, mostly home improvement and maintenance type things. I felt no resistance and at the end of the day I experienced what is typically referred to as "the satisfaction of accomplishment" - a type of high that most people regard as oh so healthy. While there is nothing wrong in taking care of business, being creative etc., there can be a negative flip side if, on those languid days when we feel no motivation or energy, we feel guilt as though "We've let someone down". (Who?) Being busy as a way of earning peace is a trap because it is only a facsimile of peace. It is no different than the Buddhist concept of "earning merits" for this or another life or any form of "righteous behavior" called for by other religions, or ideologies. They all perpetuate and reinforce guilt.” – ES
Yes, temporary satisfaction, for whatever reason, is not true peace. It is simply the result of accomplishment, as you explained, or the personal thought system (ego) getting its way in something.
However, I think you are confusing two different motivations here. Being busy to attain satisfaction is different from being busy to stave off guilt. There is also another motivation for busy-ness: To avoid looking at something in one’s mind. So let’s look at each of these:
Busy-ness for satisfaction is actually just a part of being human so there is no guilt involved in this. It is natural as a person to feel satisfied when you have accomplished something. If it wasn’t for that sense of satisfaction we wouldn’t be motivated to do anything! It’s only a problem if one makes an idol of accomplishing things in the hope it would lead to lasting peace. But because this wouldn’t work it wouldn’t last as an idol for long. As with all idols it would eventually lead to a sense of emptiness and disillusionment rather than peace.
Busy-ness to stave off guilt does come, as you said, from a need to accomplish to appease a power outside and over you – a god. Of course, a person is not usually conscious of trying to appease a god. All they know is if they are not busy they feel guilty or their self-esteem plummets. They don’t examine this. They are just driven by the guilt to remain busy. And even if they did examine it they may not be in touch with a belief that there is a god sitting in judgment on them. But, of course, the guilt is the sign that this is exactly what they do unconsciously believe!
Busy-ness to avoid examining something in one’s own mind is very common. Sometimes people know why they want to keep busy, like when they are openly grieving a loss. However, unacknowledged grief is very often why people don’t want to be still. And besides grief, there are a whole host of things in a person’s mind that they may not want to look at so they avoid stillness and keep themselves busy.
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