Complete Devotion to Something That's Absolutely Meaningless

I sat in front of Sheridan’s Frozen Custard one night this last week totally enthralled in the game that was taking place in front of me. Two boys 10’ish in age were swapping hula hoops back and forth in mid-air. Their concentration rivaled that of a professional athlete. Both still actually wore baseball uniforms from the night’s previous activities. This latest game which marshaled their attention didn’t have any rules, didn’t have any scores, and didn’t seem to have an end in sight. And I couldn’t quit watching.

They were able to completely disregard their surroundings and focus 100% of their energy on something that had no consequence on anything. Adults can’t do this. In our world where multi-tasking is king, we forget how to throw ourselves into a task that has no meaning. Driving becomes a chore that has to be endured to get somewhere and is often tuned-out as we tune-in to a radio station and lose ourselves to the commentary or song that comes through our speakers. Standing in line at the grocery store moves from being a welcome rest to an annoyance that might result in a talk with the manager if the checker actually services that person with 22 items in the “express” lane. Learning, self-improvement, and spirituality all move from being a central part of your life that is constantly being molded and reshaped to a static part that is left as-is unless something shakes up your world view.

In the “adult world” things have to be completely quantified. You don’t pick up a book to experience the joy of reading; you do it because you need to brush up on this or that technique for next week’s sales pitch. You don’t enjoy the extra few minutes you have to do absolutely nothing while you wait to check out; you impatiently check your watch thinking of all of the other important things you could be doing. And you don’t even consider tossing a hula-hoop for the sake of tossing a hula-hoop, there’s too many real things that need to be done.

To quote Arthur Jeon, we need to approach life a bit more childlike. Not childish, but like a child. Completely and totally immerse yourself in what you are doing. If it’s waiting in line, immerse yourself in the relaxation of having nothing to do. If it’s driving, focus on the act of moving through your surroundings. And if it happens to be sitting on a grassy lawn with a hula-hoop near by, see how many times you can catch it…