Do Nothing

Last night, I was complaining about not having any work to do. Today, I realized I had cursed a blessing. To repent of my sin, I woke up late, had a midday meal, and then took a long afternoon nap.

Did I feel guilty? Yes, initially. Do I still feel guilty? Absolutely not.

We, as a society, have told ourselves that we have to constantly work or work to look busy. We never teach ourselves to “do nothing”. It’s no wonder why so many of us (including me) find meditating to be so difficult. And it’s no wonder why most of us return from expensive vacations still looking for solitude, silence, and sanity.

In the book Ishmael, Daniel Quinn explains that our hunter-gatherer ancestors only worked 3-4 hours each day and they lived well! We tell ourselves that we need to work 40, 50, 60-hour weeks in order to survive. Don’t you find it ironic that we need to work twice as many hours, even with the advanced technology? The math doesn’t quite match up. The truth is that we work long hours to feel productive, important, accomplished, or better than (or ahead of) person xyz. We still believe that idleness is the work of the devil. For those that know, it’s the path to creativity, contentment, and peace.

So here’s your task for the day, hour, or maybe just the next 5 minutes (be sure to add it to your to-do list!): do nothing. Hopefully you won’t feel so guilty now that you know I did nothing all day (except write this).  

-S

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