We are living in a fast-paced world in which there is little room for idleness. However, when we retire, many of us find ourselves in a totally different world—a world of idleness.
An idle mind is the devil's workshop. Is there any truth in this statement?
In Western thinking, an idle mind is often a muddled mind with distorted thinking--a breeding ground for mental disorders. Thomas Carlyle, the famous historian, once said: "In idleness, there is perpetual despair."
A busy mind, on the other hand, may search for new truths, even as one continues to age. This keeps the mind functional and healthy. John Quincy Adams concurred: "Idleness is sweet, and its consequences are cruel." But a busy mind may become a compulsive mind, which is a characteristic of contemporary living.
Lin Yutang, a well-known contemporary Chinese philosopher, once said: "A busy man is never wise, and a wise man is never busy." That may be the golden mean: a too-busy mind may become distressed, while a too-relaxed mind may turn idle.
Physical and intellectual activities do stimulate the mind. Therefore, it is important that even on retirement, you should find something to occupy yourself with. As you age, your muscle strength and mental capacity will deteriorate and decline. Take up a new sport, such as golf, which is an ageless sport. Mental golf is good for your mind, and golf swings are good for muscle flexibility, as well as body balance and posture. The latter are especially beneficial to those who are aging, because they may prevent fall among seniors, which is one of the leading causes of death among the elderly.
As for intellectual activities, go back to school as you age. Learn a new craft, a new hobby, or even start a new career, such as think, write, and retire, or a business.
Keep yourself from being idle, but also refrain from a compulsive mindset. Have the right mindset to increase your mind power for positive living, which requires neither an idle mind nor a compulsive mind. .
The wisdom in living is to find a happy medium, which is neither idle nor compulsive, especially in your golden years after retirement . Maybe the wisdom of Tao is most appropriate. Tao wisdom is the wisdom of Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese sage who lived 2600 years ago. His one and only book, Tao Te Ching, has become one of the most popular ancient classics and has been translated into many languages due to its profound wisdom.
Tao wisdom focuses on living in the now, that is, moment-to-moment, instead of worrying about what might happen next. It also emphasizes the importance of “under-doing” rather than “over-doing”, which is the by-product of a compulsive mind. “Under-doing” is doing what needs to be done, and letting nature take over. Lao Tzu believes in the natural order of things. Hence, in life there should be “no expectation” because expectation leads to “picking and choosing,” which often results in making wrong choices with the accompaniment of stress and regret. The essence of Tao wisdom is living with neither an idle mind nor a compulsive mind; you do what is necessary, without expecting the result, and embracing the good as well as the bad, the desirable and the undesirable. If you develop this mindset, you have mind power over your life.
Visit my website: Wisdom in Living to get resources for positive living.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau