Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Doing Nothing

Last night I started re-reading the "Joy Diet" by Martha Beck. I like that book but the first part of the book is a tough one, it talks about doing NOTHING. That's a hard thing for me to do, it goes so against all we have been taught about being productive. But one thing is for sure, its awfully hard to hear a small still voice when you are always doing something. Its almost impossible to be filled when the bowl is already full.
The Tao says "Thirty spokes are united around the hub of a wheel, but the usefulness of the wheel depends on the space where nothing exists. Clay is molded into a vessel, but the usefulness of the vessel depends on the space where nothing exists. Doors and windows are cut out of the walls of a house, and the usefulness of the house depends on the space where nothing exists. "
Novel concept for most of see the usefulness of the space where nothing exists. Profound thought is often born from a time where nothing but thinking is done. We tend to look at that time spent thinking as a waste of time, but it isn't. We are more likely to be so busy that we never really think. I am assuming you are all very bright and understand that I am not advocating we just take up a habit of always doing NOTHING. I know you understand balance, and that's just it, balance. There is no balance in always doing something.
So, if you had a tiny corner of your world, be it a place in the barn, your walk in closet, your bathroom, or a corner of the garden, where you could let everyone in your family know, that when you are there for 15 minutes, you are not to be disturbed, unless of course there is a major emergency, could you actually balance your busy-ness with a time of doing NOTHING ? A time to HEAR that small still voice. I am talking about you just listening.
It is my practice to set aside some time in the morning, after my hot water and lemon juice, to just sit. I have a hard time doing it, even after a few years of it being part of my day. It still takes me 5 minutes to stop the hamster wheel of thoughts, the mental list of things to do, things I should have done and on and on. But, the results are worth it. Calmness, enlightenment, the ability to find the value in doing nothing and a place where we can be filled.
Forget about rearranging your cupboards one more time, forget about the dust under the sofa for the day. Forget about feeling guilty for not accomplishing some great task every waking moment, take some time for doing nothing. You will find it most productive !


Jan said...

Wow. I just titled yesterday's entry, a day of doing nothing... But I like you don't do well doing nothing. It is a foreign concept. You are right. It takes practice. Great post.

Bren said...

Ooooh...THAT is a challenge! I am not sure I know HOW to do that. If I am sitting, my hands are busy, or the tv is on, or something/someone is calling me...I will need to practice that. It sounds wonderful.

Carrie J said...

Martha comes from an LDS background where being busy and productive is a virtue. I'm sure this was a hard lesson for her to learn as well. I have found those times to be the best for inspiration. It is difficult to slow down and find a space alone in a small house. When I was a kid I had a special tree that I would climb up into. I never told a soul about it so I was never discovered. I'm too old for tree climbing now, so I usually just head out to the backyard.

Patty said...

I sure can appreciate that kind of background Carrie, about being productive and busy. The mennonite world is all about being busy

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