The Fine Art of Doing Nothing

As the weather ever so slowly (but steadily) warms; the rocks along the shore, the tree trunks along the trails, and the park benches in the town, warm along with them.   This means more time to sit and enjoy the views,  and practice the fine art of doing nothing.



Actually doing nothing is harder than in sounds.   We are so programmed to believe that we need to be accomplishing something with every moment of our day, that we feel guilty when we stop.     Many of us also don’t like the thoughts that we have when we do nothing, so it is easier to hold them at bay by keeping busy and distracted.   I’m not sure when it became so terrifying to “be alone with our thoughts”, but our culture bombards us with the idea that it is bad to be alone, bad to be still, bad to be doing nothing.



I believe that “doing nothing” is good for you, both mentally and physically.   Major religious practices encourage this.  For example many Christians declare Sunday as “a day of rest”.   Jews observe the Sabbath (which prohibits certain activities during this time).  Buddhists meditate (the practice of “no mind” to promote “awakening”).    I believe there is wisdom in this.    I can’t help but wonder if many of the maladies that our culture suffers from such as depression, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue can’t be tied back to the fact that we have distracted and “busied” ourselves to the point of mental and physical exhaustion (please don’t think that I am suggesting that this is ONLY cause for these illnesses,merely speculating).   I will argue that ignoring our need to be still, to be silent, at the very least deprives us of so many wonderful opportunities to just be present in the moment and appreciate that place in time for what it is.


So take some time today or tomorrow (but make it sometime soon) to practice “doing nothing”, and see how good it feels!




About Carol Page-Potter

I am a woman in the midst of reconnecting with life after the death of my husband.

Posted on May 5, 2012, in Ruminations and Philosophy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. JBPhotography

    True words! It is indeed difficult to actively choose to be still and non-accomplishing without doubt and guilt creeping in.

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