A Perspective on Procrastination

I recently read a cool article on the issue of procrastination at the website “waitbutwhy.com”. You can find it here. It wasn’t 100% perfect, though.

The thing is, it’s a great article and foundation of a map of the phenomenon of procrastination. But to my mind it’s incomplete, and the way it interpret its findings just ends up being wrong because of it. The map needs to be given some additional features and tweaks, and then get re-interpreted for one to fully see what’s actually going on. At least if it’s spiritual liberation you’re shooting for.

See, what Tim Urban does in his article is that he very eloquently identifies and illustrates three main components that are at work during the occurrence of procrastination. (If you haven’t already, this is probably a good time to read the original article, as well as part II of the same series, as I will refer to material from those from here on.)

From a spiritual perspective, where the map falls short is where it forgets to include a fourth component, which – have a guess! – is your ego. Until you include the externally induced conditioning that constantly oppresses your spirit with its mental voice, ignorantly talking about who to be and what to do, the map will be incomplete and misleading.

If you want to achieve spiritual liberation, this ego-component matters greatly to the larger picture. Because if we in this light take a look at the previously established components, we find that the “instant gratification monkey” isn’t necessarily the villain in this scenario at all, but in fact the hero.

What the instant gratification monkey personifies within a context of spiritual liberation is in actuality: our intuition and integrity. I say this based on what ten years of having dedicated my life to reach my true expression as a being, by trying to live honestly and authentically, has revealed for me. The countless moments of procrastination of my life haven’t been my weakest moments at all. They have rather been a result of my intuition and integrity fighting my inauthentic, scared little ego the only way they know how: by not doing what it says.

The reason it sometimes turns into a seemingly pointless waste of time is because the ignorant egoic mind often resides in a state of hyperactive stress. It doesn’t know how to cope with the situation when our deeper intuition and integrity refuses to comply with its egoic agendas, and thus it often just turns into us escaping into some mindless distraction, ‘wasting time’, in order to deal with this stressful confusion.

Procrastination as we know it isn’t a result of us being weak, that has to be fought and overcome. It’s a symptom of us longing for freedom from our egoic ignorance and conditioning, that needs to be acknowledged and deeply reflected upon.

We don’t procrastinate because there’s a bad monkey running the show in our mind, which we need to domesticate through being “a rational decision maker”. We procrastinate because our intuition and integrity is trying to tell us that what we’re doing is inauthentic and unaligned with our natural, spontaneous expression as a being.

In the second part of the article, Tim talks about a special place called “flow”, which you sometimes can get lucky and get to visit. That place, however, isn’t special at all within the context of spirituality. It’s the natural state of being that you end up in when you find yourself free from egoic conditioning and inauthentic movement. And so what I’m saying is that if you’re stuck in “the dark playground”, procrastinating, and “flow” sounds good to you, the real solution is not to head into the dark forrest and hope for the best – it’s to turn around and have a look at yourself. At what you’re doing and why. Because frankly, the reason you’re stuck procrastinating is that you’re lying to yourself.

Your intuition and integrity knows this. That’s why you’re not doing what your egoically conditioned mind says to do – why you aren’t listening to “the rational decision maker” inside of you. Because that’s not who you are. Not what you truly wish to be doing. It’s not a reflection or embodiment of your authentic expression as a being – which, if that would be embodied, would leave you doing what you want completely effortlessly and spontaneously – living a life that feels honest and just “right”, whatever its shape or form.

I haven’t yet mentioned “the panic monster” component of the original article. That’s because once you start transitioning from egoic to authentic movement, you no longer exist at level of certain outcomes or time schedules. And because of it, there’s just no panic monster around anymore.

Now, I make some pretty hefty assertions here, but I don’t mean to give the impression that I’ve reached a complete end in my own journey with this. To transition from ignorant, egoic, conditioned mind into your authentic, natural, spontaneous movement as a being, is a big undertaking, and it’s probably a life-long journey of challenging ups and downs. I still find myself procrastinating, escaping into mindless distractions, now and then. But it’s less often now a days than what it used to be, and the difference now is that when it happens, I know that it’s happening because something is holding me back, making me feel stressed.

If that hsppens I just pay attention and flow with it. I don’t necessarily need to do anything about it at all. I know from experience that if I just let my intuition and integrity guide me, then whatever constitutes the egoic entrapment will all naturally be revealed and get taken care of in due time, however is best. And through that, the activity of procrastination keep ceasing as it doesn’t get triggered anymore.

2 thoughts on “A Perspective on Procrastination

  1. Very interesting perspective. I see some truths in my own experience but have operated from the conditioned framework which labels procrastination and instant gratification as wrong or bad.

    Whenever I follow the flow, tasks are not only effortless, but I’m completely absorbed in them and forget the time. That’s because the interest and attitude towards it is authentic, as you’ve pointed out.

    Noticing the disparity between the ego and authentic drives is a bit depressing at first, to be honest. I’m currently surfing the crest of that wave but authenticity is more often than not winning out. And truthfully, it’s only a matter of time before it does that.

    well done. I hope you develop these ideas further and look forward to reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing Delma and thanks for the positive feedback. Yes, understanding that procrastination is necessarily a result of being tangled up in inauthentic movement is scary. And it’s even scarier to stop fighting this “bad behavior” that is a threat to the “success” of your egoic facade and life style. To instead allow yourself to begin to truly flow with what your being is spontaneously expressing, and let that take you wherever it wants.

      In my experience, it’s been a long process of building up the courage, understanding, trust and suffering necessary to allow the process to take its course. And when you do, it’s still very much a process of first “getting clear” of your previous way of life, before you can really begin to reap the full benefits and rewards of living authentically and aligned. Egoic dreams, egoic relationships, egoic hobbies, egoic needs. There’s so much egoic debris to deal with. But then again, when you begin to flow, you don’t really need to worry about making anything happen, or “getting anywhere” anymore. You just take it one small step at a time, as it spontaneously presents itself – which at least releases the process from being just another procrastination-triggering “chore” to deal with. That’s the nice thing about this process, and what really distinguishes authentic movement from egoic movement. It’s composed of “letting it happen”, instead of “making it happen” 🙂

      Like

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