Doing nothing is hard because there is simply nothing to do; a terrifying thing for a lot of people. We run away from nothingness, we use our ever smarter phones, embrace our laptops, endlessly scroll from page to page trying to fill the void. We try to use every second of your time with productivity. We don’t want to waste one minute, and we miss the joys of doing nothing.
Doing something in order to escape our emptiness is often a joyless ride. There is underlying fear. We spend energy seeking something, producing needless things. Reading things, eating things when we’re not hungry just to fill the hole. The sad and desperate hole that wants to be filled. But in the silence of doing nothing, there is a world of opportunity.
When we try to fill the void there is no listening. Our activity bug is busy and basically run over everything; there is no noticing of the world trying to tells us something. We’re not listening to our body, we’re just too busy. This joy of doing nothing comes to you but you have to work hard for it. This morning I got a taste of it.
I was lucky to be in the do nothing state for a few moments. Pretty soon I was back at doing something, like writing this article before it evaporated. The doing nothing is not only on your mind but in your body.
There is a pose in Yoga called Savasana. Usually the final pose in a Yoga session. It consists of laying down flat on your back that’s all. Laying down and relaxing. But I remember a Yoga teacher saying that Savasana is one of the hardest poses to achieve.
In Savasana (the corpse pose), we are supposed to let go of everything and completely make our body inactive. Again our busy body wants more. More muscles, more strength, more this and that. Savasana is the complete letting go of the body and it’s hard for us to grasp.
This morning I had a sublime experience.
I had one hour of free time before work and said: “What can I do with this one hour?”. The sun was nice and instead of doing anything, I made a cup of mint tea and stepped outside. The California sun was just perfect after we had some cold days.
I just sat down and absorbed the sun rays, and there was this interesting quietness. The irresistible urge to just stay there for another moment, and another. I felt so good with the plants around me and for the first time I notice that they were living organisms. I mean, I could feel their life force.
I notice perhaps for the first time this very unique amazing quality of things around me. When I truly realized that, they applauded me “hey, he finally noticed us” Every thing was wonderful at that moment. I looked to my side and a bunch of super green Aoniums that were gorgeous in the sun. I reached out and touched them in fact I caressed them like I would a dog. I felt that they responded to me.
At this point the reader must be asking what drug was he on? And the answer is, do we need drugs to get high? And the answer is: No we don't
There I was doing nothing and at the same time feeling complete. I noticed everything around me. A man walk on the sidewalk and I notice every step with vivid quality. I looked at the floor and I notice a holy poly bug walking. He stops near a leaf for a moment and I wonder what is going on, what is he thinking, how large is his world? What does he see? And I realize that this moment was not like any moment. I was finally doing nothing the right way. And how painful is our quest when we hurry into activity for the sake of not being idle.
I was lucky to be in the do nothing state for a few moments. Pretty soon I was back at doing something, like writing this article before it evaporates.
I guess when you finally let go of everything you notice that in the nothing there’s everything. The universe is filled with things yet is nothing. I can remember when we’re children, always in this wonder world of nothing, just being there and everything was playful.
Perhaps we can save the world if we just did nothing more often.
Photo by ian.plumb