Oakville Zen Meditation

505 The impossible task of doing nothing May 26th 24

                                                       The impossible task of doing nothing.

                               Zen says: “Doing nothing is doing something called nothing.”

How often you are doing nothing?

Never because:

We have mandatory duties of all sorts all day long.

On top of it, we are creating our abusive to-do list, and engaging in ongoing multi-tasking.

Our body and mind are restless and busy non-stop, doing this, doing that, wandering continuously: thoughts, worries, anger, planning, expectations, good and bad memories, analysis, judgment, etc.

Even when we have a rare free 5 min. moment, we are rushing to do something, somewhere: surfing the net, texting, emailing, reading a book, cooking, gardening, shopping, traveling, going to the movies, and watching TV.

Psychologically also, doing nothing is not acceptable.

Because our ego believes - subconsciously- that we are important and indispensable then, “Doing nothing” is impossible, detrimental to our self-image being cowardly, lazy, useless, sort of personal and social failure. “If I do nothing, I am wasting my time.”. Do you possess time?

Because our self-image and societal identification are based on what we are doing, what we are thinking, and, above all how busy we are. We don’t want to be perceived by others and ourselves as being useless, inactive, lazy, or failing. We want to be and to look productive. Doing nothing is simply not acceptable and ill-perceived by self and by society.

This perception is crazy and quite detrimental to our emotional balance.  How?

Consequences of the so-called perception of “doing nothing” :

Because the feeling of “doing nothing” is just an ego-generated perception, a pure reaction of a defense mechanism. It has 2 profound detrimental consequences on our emotional balance:

  1. As said before, It creates a negative self-image induced by doing nothing.

Subconsciously we feel guilty, lazy, and useless for doing nothing, on top, of the fear of boredom, and negative societal judgment.

     2)Feeling that time is shrinking, contracted! Not enough time: a stressful feeling that we are created.

We are complaining that we don’t have time, but we automatically accumulate or create things to do all day long, making the time seem to be shrinking.

Therefore, the pressure is on us to do zillions of things at the same time because we believe that we do not have enough time to do all that stuff before the end of the day. Zen says:

This is a vicious circle: More stuff to do = less time to do = less stuff done stress and anxiety.

Having “no time” or the feeling of it is a very frequent and serious self-created stressor.

Zen also says: “True Zen is mindfully doing one thing at a time.”

The Zen perceptive:

Doing nothing is a weird concept, a contradiction of terms since doing nothing is doing something called “nothing” whatever it means in your mind.

So, “doing nothing” is a delusive perception created by an ego-driven mind. It does not exist.

Therefore, doing nothing and doing something are identical, only the way our ego perceives and understands the words creates this artificial difference. Zen also says this:

“Doing nothing is doing something difficult  called nothing.”

It is up to us to choose the proper meaning.

Does just breathing do nothing?

Does sitting still during meditation do nothing? Our ego wants to do “something, to be active and for many, sitting still is doing nothing. On the contrary, sitting still and focusing on breathing is doing a lot.

Next time if someone is asking you “How are you doing?”, reply “I am doing nothing”.

You will trigger surprise and concerns ……wondering what is going on your side.!.   THANKS