About Divine Laziness

At its heart divine laziness is about not doing that which is unnecessary. It's about not doing that which is harmful. But more than that, it is the avoidance of doing those things because we know where they lead, and we know that through first-hand experience. The sensitivity to know these things is developed through training, and that training constitutes the art of living effortlessly.

I have come to think of this combination—sensitivity and effortlessness—as the right kind of laziness: it avoids the use of brute force and always flows along the path of least resistance. And I've come to recognise its presence at the heart of various paths to freedom I have found my feet upon.

For instance, any genuine path to freedom and ease will be paved in part with a basic standard of moral integrity, a code of behaviour designed to minimise harm. Typically such a ruleset may ask us, for example, to respect the belongings of others by not taking for ourselves that which does not belong to us. At first we, as travelers on the way, keep watch over our conduct and avoid certain actions (like stealing) because the rules of the road ask us not to. But if we are also developing sensitivity to what happens as a result of our actions, we come to know the real reason for such rules. We come to know first-hand, through our own experience, that doing certain things—lying, stealing, harming—feel terrible and vandalize our sense of ease, and splinter our sense of freedom by trapping us in their miserable results. This, then, becomes our reason for leaving these things undone: we know how weighty are their results and have no stomach for carrying such a burden. Such laziness guides us well along a path to freedom and ease, and so I dare to call it divine.

What we are left with is an intelligent approach to life, one that shies away from debacle, seeing it for what it is. Leaving undone acts that demand we dance to the tune an increasingly fervent fiddle of consequences, our engagement with life becomes effortless.

Must we do a thing just because it is there to be done? Or can we spend our actions more wisely?