Sunday, August 7, 2011

Doing Nothing: An Accomplishment? (Yes!)

A little while ago I wrote about the first chapter of Martha Beck's book, The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices for a Happier Life. In that chapter, Beck emphasizes that one result of our busy lives is that we are always doing, which brings us further and further away from our true selves. Her remedy is to spend just 5-15 minutes a day not-doing. Not talking, walking, eating, surfing the net, or sleeping, but to just sit there, being.

I agreed with her rationale, yet, until recently, I had yet to experience it deeply.

Over the past several weeks, all my life was doing, with little to no time for anything else. Between finishing up the lab work for my Ph.D., getting ready to move, planning our wedding, packing, cleaning, and moving, I had little choice in the matter. It wore me completely ragged, and bouts of weepy-ness and feelings of desperation were common.

But last Thursday was different. Besides spending some of the day indulging in blissful slumber, I spent the rest of the day not-doing. Of course what this really means (and what Beck is really getting at) is that in my not-doing, I spent most of the day in mindful meditation. Not cross-legged, in lotus position, or any of the notions of what meditation purists say it 'should' be, but just sitting, breathing, being.

And in the hyper-busy warp-speed lifestyle that is so common today, I feel that this day of repose and reflection was a true accomplishment.

What do you think? I would love to hear your opinion and experiences. 

May all beings be happy!

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