Over the years, my daily practice has shifted. While I have several “formal” practices like yoga, meditation, contemplative writing and dance, there is one “practice” that is winning out these days. It is the practice of doing nothing. Not a thing.
I begin my doing nothing by sitting on the couch. That’s it. I don’t pray or meditate or write. I sit and I sit and I sit. I notice my body, my thoughts, my breath. I allow myself to be without agenda, other than to be with myself as is. But mostly, I wait. I wait until I am urged from within to take the next step. That next step might be to start moving or write in my journal. Just as likely, it might be to close my eyes, go to the bathroom or get a drink of water. During my nothing times there is no preconceived idea of what should or should not happen. The Tao Te Ching asks, “Do you have the patience to wait ’till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving ’till the right action arises by itself?”
In a world so forcibly driven forward, the idea of doing nothing can feel like death, laziness, or a risk too dangerous to take. And yet, without built in times to let our mud settle, we run the risk of entrenching the wrong habits. We run the risk of reacting versus responding. We run the risk of spending our whole lives running on a treadmill to nowhere. Let nothing give you everything you need.