Mettā Sutta verse 2, translation by Andrew Olendzki
“Content with little, easily maintained,
I like this description because it conveys a lack of intensity, a person getting things done with clarity and simplicity. If you don’t need much, you don’t have as much stuff to maintain. You can just be.
Women used to call this “puttering around the house.” There was a sense that this was okay. It implied slowly organizing things, gathering things and figuring out what to do with them. Most workplaces today would fire someone for puttering, even though puttering might give an employee the organizing and peace that the organization needs most.
Instead, workplaces reward appearing occupied, often even as the worker accomplishes little or spend their time online looking at porn. I love the bumper sticker that says, “Look busy. Jesus is coming.” It’s not about getting anything real done, just looking busy.
Many years ago, when I worked in retail, I knew a lady that got a lot done but was as slow as molasses. Watching her work made me fidgety. I wondered how she got anything done, but, at the end of the shift, she was always finished. When I observed more closely, I saw that she wasted no movement. She was careful and deliberate in everything. I also knew many others working in the same place that seemed very busy but got little done. I gained a lot of respect for her, but still could not observe her without getting antsy. Looks can be highly deceiving.