In programming, there is the concept of statelessness. It means that each request is treated anew, without memory of previous requests.
This is extremely limiting in some ways, but in another way it’s a great way to deal with a ton of requests.
Imagine if you as a person dealt with millions of requests a day from a thousand or so clients: if you had to keep track all those clients and the multiple requests they were making, it would drive you crazy. The burden of remembering would crush you.
This is what our lives are like. We are constantly holding information, frustration, ideas, tension, requests, needs, of a thousand different requests each day. Every email, every call, every text message, every open browser tab, every interaction with another person, every task we do … it all builds up in us until we are overloaded.
Imagine if you forgot all previous requests. Those interactions died, faded away into the ether.
Imagine if there wasn’t the weight of thousands of requests and interactions on your mind right now.
Imagine they were gone, and you had a blank slate.
What would this blank slate feel like?
What would it be like to deal with the next task, talk to the next person, walk to the next place, without anything weighing you down? Without anything pulling on your mind?
Just this task. Just this person. Just this action. Just this moment.
There would be nothing else, just this. It would be your entire universe. It would fill you up completely.
Then it would be gone.
And the next moment would be all there was. Then that would die too.
This is stateless.
Try letting go of all previous moments, right now. Try making the present moment all there is. When you feel a previous request or idea pulling at your attention, let it go.
This is the stateless practice. You’ll fail. Let that go too.
Start anew, with all the possibilities of emptiness.
This post originally appeared on Zen Habits, and is reprinted with permission.