Excerpts - Multi Tasking (Tape 62)
[From Marsha…..long ago when the children were infants and toddlers, it took a lot to keep up with their needs and safety and also take care of cooking, cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping. I just took care of what I could and learned to leave some things undone—sometimes for a long time.
Then a few years ago when I was job hunting, I saw the phrase ‘must be able to multitask’. That sounded like a good thing at the time and something to develop to be more employable; although I later suspected that the employer wanted to be able to get more work from an employee to reduce the number of people who needed to be paid.
And I have begun to re-evaluate this multi-tasking idea with the teaching ideas of being in the present moment. And so here is an excerpt that explains that a lot better than I can.]
Question from the audience:
(What’s the purpose if you’re only going to understand this moment—there’s no place to go and what would be the purpose?)
Because you’re thinking that without a future there is no purpose, right?
(What’s the purpose of getting into an automobile if you’re going somewhere if your only purpose is to see the present moment….and he goes on and on…………..)
My teacher says:
Suppose you got in the automobile; and you were only interested in getting to Provo. So you had your attention strictly on what you were going to do when you got there? Are you paying attention to your driving and the cars around you if you are thinking about what you are going to do there; or are you paying only a very small attention to the driving and a lot of attention to what you’re going to do in Provo.
You’re attention is divided up—I’d rather not drive with you if you don’t mind because your attention is all split up; and you’re not paying very good attention to the highway. What’s happening on the highway requires 100% of attention—changes can occur very quickly and the road become instantaneously dangerous.
(I doubt that would ever happen though.)
Is it possible that we want to look at things into the future, and we’re not willing to look at now?
When is it that you do something?
It’s always now. If we do something now--this now is a fluid thing. It’s not a disconnected spot. And it’s possible, that if you live in present time that you would be far more efficient in each new direction rather than trying to live in many different places at the same time. You mentioned a while ago about a limited attention span, and it, truly, is rather limited. So, if you have your attention on Provo, on the highway, on something that went on yesterday and something that might happen next week, your attention is scattered until there is very little of it anywhere.
Now if it is all in the present moment without any struggle, this moment may be much fuller. Every moment leads to another moment, right? And if a person lived in present time, which is always now, they would find that their efficiency and memory steps up many hundreds of percentage points at once.
Of course most people’s minds is scattered in many places; and that’s why that statement you made that the attention span is limited is correct.
So consequently the attention is always bouncing from one of these things to another, isn’t it? But it can be all one and in the present time. The present moment is ever changing, so the attention would be very expanded over what it generally is—could that be possible?
So is it possible that living in the present moment might take care of all the other moments quite well? When one is not living in the present moment at all, precious little attention is on the present moment--it’s on what will happen, what did happen, what he said, what she did, what I must or should do until there is very little attention paid to this moment. So the sequence is in chaos.
This is a little story I told some time or other, and it’s a true one. I went into a lady’s house one time and the kitchen was in a literal chaos--including her—she was perspiring and quite rattled. The oven had black smoke billowing out of it—there was obviously something burning. She had just dropped a head of lettuce on the floor and was chasing it, and the place was quite cluttered. I asked my favorite question.
“What are you doing?”
She implied that I was a blankity-blank idiot for asking, but she said, “I’m trying to get dinner on the table.” Her attention was getting dinner on the table—the end result.
A few days later I was in another home and the contrast was quite visible to me. The lady was all dressed up and she had on a pretty little apron. She was making salad—the oven was lighted and everything looked under control. The little pots were sitting on burners bubbling away. And so I asked my little question again.
“What are you doing?”
She said, “I’m cooking dinner.”
Now she was in present time, the other woman was out of time. The other lady was trying to get to the conclusion without taking the logical step by step process as it comes along in daily living.Now I’m sure that dinner got on the table in a much more enjoyable fashion in the second home and also much more efficiently because it was the logical outcome of what she was doing—she was living in the moment. Each moment led to dinner on the table--and it looked like it would be a much more peaceful and joyful dinner in that house.