I love a calendar, a list (actually, many lists: to do, grocery, blog ideas, etc.), and a plan. How else can a divorced mom with two kids, an ex-husband, a partner, a stay-at-home business, social life, etc. survive? My life is feast or famine. I am either doing a million things at a hundred miles an hour or bored out of my skull and exhausted.
I am so busy most of the time that I sometimes wonder am busy for busy’s sake. Is it a compulsion? When I focus on doing it all, I rarely take time to do nothing. I often run at an unsustainable pace, multi-tasking my way through the day, and enjoying or being present for very little of it. Because I measure my worth by what I accomplish, doing nothing is a luxury I cannot afford. Or can I?
People wear “busy” like a badge of honor. We spend so much time running around trying to look busy for other people, then we often feel like we must look busy for ourselves, otherwise we might be considered lazy. Doing nothing doesn’t mean sitting on the couch mindlessly watching daytime TV. It means doing something that makes you feel relaxed, gives you mental space, and slows down your heart rate.
Americans are overworked, putting in more hours than at any time since the Depression and more than in any other in western society. In this 24/7, “always on” age, the prospect of doing nothing might sound unrealistic and unreasonable, but it has never been more important. Much research and many spiritual and philosophical systems suggest that detaching from daily concerns and spending time in simple reflection and contemplation are essential to health, sanity, and personal growth. Doing nothing is essential for creativity and innovation, and a person’s seeming inactivity might actually cultivate new insights, inventions, or melodies.
Meditation is the art of doing nothing. Meditation is about acceptance, complete acceptance. It means that whatever is happening and whatever your experience is, you do nothing. You just let it be and accept it as it is. You change nothing and do nothing at all in response to everything. When you sit down in meditation and let everything be as it is, your awareness starts to expand. As you get deeper into this practice, you start to discover an entirely different part of yourself. It’s a place of perfect peace, and it’s untouched by the events and circumstances of your life. You experience a sense of total release. In the end, meditation is really the art of resting in pure awareness.
Meditation has helped awaken me and allowed me to live in harmony with myself and the world around me. It showed me I had to examine who I am, my view of the world, and my place in it. I now appreciate the fullness of life and each moment, and I am more in touch. Our lives unfold moment to moment and if we don’t stop, we miss many of the quiet, good ones. This, to me, is the art of conscious living – the joy of not doing!
So, try a meditation. Watch a sunrise in silence. Listen to the rain. Don’t feel guilty for doing nothing. You must be strong in the face of social conditioning and stare down the people who look disapprovingly. I for one would never judge a fellow Suburban Goddess Mom for taking the time to do nothing. Moments of nothingness or not doing may be the greatest gifts one can give oneself.