I’m beginning to understand “slothing” not as doing nothing but as doing things at a comfortable and relaxed pace, without feeling like you’re “chased after” by the world.
We actually do go soft and lazy if we do nothing for long periods of time. Our willpower goes to mush. Inertia builds. In the end we’re too lazy to do things and we’re rolling around in our beds mindlessly for days on end and before we know it, precious time has passed us by.
There can be no relaxation without first experiencing stress. There is no happiness that can feel like happiness if you haven’t first experienced sadness. The concept of things don’t stand on themselves in this world; they exist only in contrast to their opposite value. Light is not light if we cannot grasp the idea of darkness. And so life itself is not life if death is not real. That’s just the way things are.
But let’s come back to the idea of being a sloth. The central idea of slothhood, to me at least, is living life on your own terms and not the world’s. A sloth does whatever the hell she wants to do whenever she wants to do it, with zero guilt. But it doesn’t mean a sloth simply sits on her armchair and does nothing all day.
Doing nothing is nice. We should never be afraid to do nothing. In fact we should do nothing fearlessly and whenever we want to, to hell with what the world thinks. We are not obliged to do anything at all in this world. But doing things feels good too and makes the days of doing nothing feel even better. In Buddhism they talk about the Middle Way — taking the path between two extremes, we find virtue and enlightenment. I’m a believer of this truth.
There is joy to be found in both doing nothing and doing something. When you do nothing, you meet yourself. When you do something, you meet with the world. Whether it’s yourself or the world, there is a whole universe to explore and take delight in.
So do or not do, it’s up to you. But always tread the middle way and always be true and kind to yourself.
(The problem only arrives when we do things for the wrong reason — to impress, to invite compliments, to ignore the real issues that are at the bottom of our psychological distress, to avoid confronting ourselves, to run away from life, to fill that unfillable hole in our heart.)
The above are just some of my evolving thoughts on life as a sloth.