When was the last time you had nothing to do? I don’t mean procrastination, being bored, or thinking about the next task at hand--I mean truly doing nothing.
Our mind is our most precious resource through which we see the world. We depend on it for focus, creativity, and to perform at our best, but yet we spend more time servicing our car than we do our minds.
First, it’s about really feeling good about having nothing to do. That is--seeing the importance of giving your mind a rest. Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day, it’s well worth it. Take ten minutes a day to do nothing--that means no social media, texting, or television. Whether you’re sitting on the couch or on your meditation pillow, immerse yourself in the present moment. When you start feeling pulled in all directions by the tasks of the day, come back to the breath. Meet yourself where you are. Don’t get frustrated if you’re an amateur at the art of doing nothing. At first, it can be difficult to put the time aside.
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh encourages us to cultivate aimlessness. And although it’s aimless in the moment, it certainly has a purpose.
The Quality of Attention
By cultivating the art of doing nothing, we improve the quality of our attention and when we’re truly focused that’s when we do our best work. Even if it’s just a few minutes a day, it gives us an opportunity to recharge our batteries so that we don’t end up burning out all at once.
Preventative Stress Management
Over time you’ll realize that it’s not just a pain reliever, or something you take to make you feel better when you’re stressed, it’s preventative. That means that you’ll look at life in an entirely different manner. Did you know that the average person spends 47 percent of their time lost in thought? That’s almost half of your life that you’re not actually living. Life can only be lived in the present moment and being mindful in the present moment takes practice. Doing nothing for just 10 minutes a day is great practice.
When difficult and confusing emotions arise, being able to stop everything and watch them without reacting to them, makes life so much easier. So go ahead, do nothing and enjoy the benefits of actually living this life you’ve been given.
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Image: Andreas Nieto Porras