Take Care Of Nonbusiness

I’ve been a lover of the night for as long as I can remember. As a child, the dark hours positively engaged my imagination. As an adult, the overnight is my work time. I don’t alter the sleep/wake cycle on the off days because I do not want to miss out on the night. The dark hours are also when I take care of nonbusiness.

Case in point: this morning I began a short formal meditation, then transitioned to informal contemplation after going outdoors to wait for Orange the cat for our almost daily commune. With nonbusiness complete, I settled in at the desk to write this post. This relationship with the night has a feel of exclusivity to it. The majority of the town is asleep so it seems that the neighborhood fully belongs to me. It’s the perfect condition for harmony and creativity.

I believe that what really counts for human beings–community, family, individuality–are manifestations of singular cogitation and thinking. Solitary thoughtful thinking helps people better avoid the temptation to embrace dogmatic, rigid beliefs. In order to thrive, we require relief from workplace surveillance and intimidation. This allows meaningful expressions that belong to us to better develop. Without this, we have no authentic freedom.

When I was in the sophomore year of high school, one of my peers died on the field during a football game. He had not been tackled, but was sprinting the long run to make a touchdown. Just before he was to arrive at the end zone, he collapsed to the ground. Medics immediately carried him off the playing field and brought him to the hospital. After several minutes, the game resumed. Later, we were told that the player had died of massive heart failure.

His mother was one of my teachers, so the death was traumatic for her as well as the school at large. During the late evening before the funeral, I went to the mortuary to pay last respects for my acquaintance. As it turned out, I was alone with him for the first and only time ever. It was a profound personal discovery of the nature of reality. I was looking at death and thinking about the finality of it. There was no sugar-coating it.

It was during those quiet moments that I knew for sure what it meant to be isolated. Although we have family, friends, enemies, and people we don’t know, all of us–every animal and plant that has ever lived and will ever live is independent. I fully grasped the reality that, at a certain span of time, the football player was very much like me, but he ceased to exist the past Friday night on the playing field. The stark fact of the preciousness of my own time on Earth came as an epiphany at the mortuary while I gazed upon the lifeless body of my classmate.

This was not a morbid discovery. In a way, death became an ally. It revealed that the true self is a marvel to behold and enjoy. I never wanted to take life for granted any longer. School studies and chores took on different priorities in life’s hierarchy. I continued to perform work, but I also learned that it’s important to know when to walk away for awhile to take a break from the business of life. Each person really needs a certain portion of each day to daydream and feel the simple joys of being alive.

When we mindfully take care of nonbusiness, we are better able to take care of business, and whatever else we may encounter.


The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 20th century columnist and journalist, Sydney J. Harris. “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Health, Hometown, philosophy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Take Care Of Nonbusiness

  1. As always, big issues and an excellent point of view, which by and large I fully share.

    Except for a short period in my life, I’ve always been self-employed and home office has been the standard for more than two decades. With all these advantages there are of course some pitfalls, time management is one of them. Especially when you are professionally connected to the outside world (worldwide) via the internet, the topic of “day-night” also gains in importance. Listening to your body and stepping down becomes part of the game as we get older. What was surprising for me was that financially I didn’t do any worse since I “worked” less.

    Thoughts about death naturally come to the fore in our old age, as far as we allow it. Personally, I think that leaving the impermanent will be easier for us if we have dealt with it mentally in good time. How we deal with it has to do with how our mindset is shaped. And that is a task that we essentially have to do ourselves.

  2. rkrontheroad says:

    A thoughtful and thought-provoking piece. We all encounter death of loved ones or those we don’t know as well, as did you. And when still in younger years, it’s shocking and perhaps a bit bewildering. It takes one out of our little worlds and helps us to contemplate the bigger picture and have some perspective in our own lives.

  3. This is a very thoughtful and for me timely post. A friend passed away last night from cancer. Life is precious. Maggie

  4. Seeing an acquaintance die in a high school football game and your experience at the funeral home had a profound and beneficial effect that most never experience at that age. One a lighter note, I really enjoyed the cartoon.

    • swabby429 says:

      As carefree, cocky adolescents at that time, most western teens were not ready for this. Death of kids our own age was taking places like Vietnam and in the “Third World”. High school was/is too early for such things.

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