Posts Tagged ‘no thing’

Busy doing NOthing

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Yesterday I was writing about the importance of sometimes allowing yourself to do nothing, and I really did take my own advice. One reader thought that I was advocating never moving into action, which is certainly not the case. It is more like night and day, where you swing from one natural phase to the next and then back again.

So, back to yesterday…. Having finished writing, and having dealt with a very welcome business call that delayed me still further, I looked out of the window and my sunny day had vanished… only to be replaced with grey and wet! None-the-less, I was off to the woods to test out my new satnav1 system and see if I could navigate round some places I really didn’t know. I have mentioned before that I love ‘exploring,’ which for me, is going places I don’t know, even (and sometimes, especially) if they are close to places I do know.

So I took myself off to some woods & heath not too far from here and surrendered myself to the unknown. I was on my own so there were no distractions. During the course of my walk which last about 2.5 hours we had every kind of weather from sun to hail. I was moving at a fair clip so by the end I was pretty tired.

However, and here is the point of my ramble about rambling, all this time I was very active, but on another level, fitting into my ‘nothingness’ mode. I had no work to do, no purpose other than to open myself up to my surroundings and experiences. I won’t be so arrogant as to claim it was a ‘zenlike state’ but it was a very English version of that.

By letting go of the focus control and just allowing ourselves to notice what we notice, by going somewhere new and surrendering control, by being open to getting lost we can find so much. So if you are not sure what to do about something, perhaps you should put Nothing on your menu…

“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing” Aristotle

“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing” Lao Tzu

“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself” Zen Proverb


  1. Bing Crosby is busy doing nothing

Much ado about NOthing

Friday, April 11th, 2008

I suspect that America’s cultural imperialism and the power of Hollywood may have seduced us thinking that the answer to every problem lies in… Action! I say this whilst recognising that men are far more enthralled by this notion than women, or perhaps we are just victims to our yang energies. Whatever the reason, it leads to way too much busyness.

There are times when, truly, nothing works; when all that is required is to do no thing. I woke this morning very aware of the call of this state. For me it consisted, at that moment, of just lying in bed, literally not moving a muscle, just letting my mind float wherever it wanted. When I am in this ‘space’, even moving a finger is the wrong thing to do. I suppose it must be a personal version of a meditative state, though frankly, I never got anywhere that good when I have meditated!

I have been aware of needing to create some personal space for a while now, and the need to slow down, but have done a pretty poor job of doing so. This morning I awoke at 5’ish to the sound of the dawn chorus, my day’s activities cancelled by others’ choices, and the sun shining. So, today, I shall surrender to the Power of Nothing.

You may not be in such a lucky place, but I commend it to you both for the sake of your health and wellbeing and also as a philosophical response to some of the problems in your life. There are many times when our most positive response to a situation is to do nothing, and this is often the hardest ‘act’. So today, before you act, ask your self if nothing might not work better?

“Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” Oscar Wilde

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein