My version of doing nothing is sitting down to read a book, perhaps whilst having a cup of peppermint or chai tea. I’ll then probably discard the book after some minutes to write down a few things I want to remember to do in the week. After that, I might quickly throw in some washing and clean the apartment. I prefer to read in an apartment which is hotel clean.
I might then think about returning to the book where I hadn’t even finished a chapter, but more likely, I will iron clothes for work just so I don’t have to think about that particular task in the week. As I’m up and not reading, it’s then possible I’ll prep the social media posts for the week and then spend an inordinate amount of time updating and socialising on Instagram and Twitter. I’ll spend some time on Facebook apologising to people and explaining, yet again, I’m a bad Facebooker and not to contact me on that medium if any sort of urgency is involved.
I’ll promise myself I will sit down and finish that chapter, but only after I prep the night’s dinner and tomorrow’s lunchbox – *then* I’ll sit down and do nothing. Oh, but wouldn’t it be great to get a jump on some of the week’s writing assignments…
I was in this particular pattern when I decided apropos of nothing this weekend to drop everything and visit the local Buddhist Centre and join in a guided meditation session. I’m not a Buddhist and the teachers do not force Buddhism down your throat, but they are meditation teachers.
I won’t say my mind didn’t wander as I sat listening to the low melodious tone of the teacher, but the stillness of everyone in the room helped quiet my mind when I opened one eye and took a peek. When I did let go and eventually became present in the face of my own stillness, it was calming and, well, refreshing. This is the closest word I can use to describe the feeling which came over me.
A powerful thought was that no matter how many things needed doing, for this hour it would not be done and no harm would come to anyone whilst I gave myself the gift of being still – truly still.
After the session, I won’t say I went back to the apartment and sat down quietly and read my book. That didn’t happen. But I did promise myself that when I did, that is what I would be doing and everything else could stop and simply wait for me to finish.
I’m planning on going again next week, as I found with learning stillness I was calmer about all the moving parts in my life when I returned to it – especially knowing I could make them all stop again through the art of truly doing nothing for an hour or so.