VICTOR KANNAN explores the concept of carefreeness and what that means. He also offers us 4 simple steps to regaining lightness and carefree happiness.
The term carefree is generally used to characterize our lives as children, when we roam around without a care in the world. “Carefree” is a state of mind without worries. This may be true for children, but as we grow older we are beset with a ton of responsibilities, and worries pile up. Our energy flow is affected, and we lose freshness in our feelings. This grows into a debilitating situation, and we are drowned in a state of helplessness. How then can we be carefree as adults?
Carefree does not mean indifferent, careless, or uncaring. We tell others, especially young ones, to pay attention and be careful as they go to school, play, bike, or participate in sports activities. We inspire partners and employees to be caring, and pin them for their uncaring attitude. We blame others for being careless when we damage a valuable item, such as a vase or a statue. Being uncaring, careless, and not paying attention are vastly different from being carefree.
In the middle of it all is the idea of caring: “How much to care?” and “What to care for?” are the questions that surround the attitude of being carefree.
Caring is a value, whereas being careful and uncaring are personality traits. Values are taught early in life and are part of our up bringing. Children catch these critical values from their parents, families, and the environment in which they grow up. Values form a foundation for life. Caring unfolds in how we treat people and do things. It shows in kindness, compassion, and generosity, and in the ability to pay attention to detail when doing things. Many of us go after knowledge, as it gives us power. But power is not easily sustained without a caring attitude. The American President Theodore Roosevelt said, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
What happens when we behave in an uncaring manner? Uncaring is selfish, and it lacks etiquette. It has a high concentration of ego, self-centricity, and uncouthness. Over time, this results in isolation and loneliness. Who will associate with someone who does not care for etiquette and relationships?
Carelessness, on the other hand, is a lack of interest, pride, patience, faith, and passion. It shows in sloppy work, lack of progress, constant turmoil, and chaos in teams and relationships. Careless work results in unintended consequences. A careless person speaks without restraint and awareness. Carelessness means lack of attention to work and people, and also means not handling things properly. Carelessness is a state of ignorance. While an uncaring attitude is due to the ego, carelessness is due to the lack of development of our real intelligence.
Caring unfolds in how
we treat people and do things.
It shows in
kindness, compassion, and generosity, and
in the ability to pay
attention to detail when doing things.
Amidst the caring, careful, uncaring, and careless people, we also come across people who are carefree. Carefree people exhibit a condition of flow, joy, and happiness. They don’t take up the gossip and curious inquiry of their friends, family members, or colleagues. When we are in their presence we feel expanded and safe. We don’t feel the need to be guarded. A person who is doing a spiritual practice for self-development will enjoy this condition of being carefree at times. And as they grow in spirituality, the carefree condition becomes more and more permanent.
The carefree condition is a balanced condition of the mind, free of excitement or dejection. To develop such a condition takes practice – a practice that helps in the moderation of tendencies and reducing the swings of the mind.
The carefree condition
is a balanced condition of the mind,
free of excitement or
The spiritual Guide, Lalaji (1873–1931), describes how we can reach the condition of carefree happiness: “The mind has the middle position where there is the mixed condition of happiness and sorrow. And when the mind rises above these two stages and reaches the spirit or the causal body, it gets peace, stability and carefree happiness.”1
Steps to Becoming Carefree
1. Moderate your tendencies
Become aware of your excesses and accept them as a challenge to overcome. Then practice self-development to overcome these personality challenges and shortcomings. Try to get rid of your negative personality traits, which we formed due to the collection of impressions or samsakaras. Adopt practices such as Heartfulness Relaxation, Meditation, Cleaning, introspection, and visualization to reprogram your personality. Eventually you will gain control over your mind and behavior. You will start thinking correctly, which helps in processing future possibilities and choices in a more positive manner.
2. Reduce your wants and needs
This will help you develop a carefree state of mind, as there is less to worry about. The tendency of wanting more and more to be comfortable, or to have a sense of self or safety, can be moderated and refined. Otherwise, you won’t know the difference between wants and needs. You will be mentally captured by the things you accumulate. More things, more to worry about. More unnecessary things, more unnecessary worries. There is wisdom in simplifying your life. It will tremendously improve your carefree status.
3. Clean as you go
The micro-practice of “spot cleaning” in Heartfulness will help you to remove mental impressions as they are forming throughout the day. Otherwise, left untended they may trigger a samskaric engagement. Spot cleaning helps to develop a carefree state of mind.
4. Have faith
Have the faith that when you do your best, only the best possible outcome will follow. Faith also contains the attitude of total acceptance, and if the outcome is less than optimal, more effort will follow, without a doubt, or a trace of concern.
Finally, every now and again try to be carefree. Feel it and enjoy it. It does not mean being irresponsible. It is like resting before activity begins. You are fresh, light, creative, and productive. Adding wonder and gratitude to this carefree condition will take your whole being to a new dimension of existence. Only when you experience such a condition of being, will you appreciate it. It is worth striving for.
1Ram Chandra (Lalaji), 2018. Truth Eternal. Shri Ram Chandra Mission, India.