When Levin thinks about life, he falls into a paralytic despair, but when he just goes on living and caring for his household, he is fine. He abandons all his former concerns for the common good and focuses on his family. Thinking about Russia and mankind was all well and good, but the doing itself never worked, he realized. It’s necessary for the family to live in the way that the family has always lived—by maintaining the family land. Levin knows not only what to do but how to do it: when he does not think but instead lives, he knows what to do instinctively.
Levin is a man of action, not of contemplation. Thinking too much makes him unable to do anything, but when he acts on instinct and pays attention to the practical concerns of his own life, he feels clearheaded. This is also part of the reason he doesn’t like politics: trying to strategize too far about the future of humanity makes Levin feel muddled, whereas focusing on his own issues allows him to retain clarity in his life.