of the best days I've ever spent in my life have
been do-nothing days. I have a hard time allowing
myself to experience such days, for there's a part of me
that wants always to be "accomplishing"
something, but when I do allow myself to do absolutely
nothing except go for walks and sit and read and hang
around and listen to the birds and the wind and even just
sit down and do nothing, I find that my connection to the
world around me grows always just a bit stronger. I
enjoy myself, I enjoy my surroundings, and I enjoy other
people just a bit more on such days.
From the time that we're very young, we're fed myths about
what life should be like. We should be working, we
should be training, we should be studying, we should be
practicing--all in an effort to "get ahead"--but
to get ahead of what? We're not machines, and we do
need rest: mental, emotional, spiritual, and
physical rest. That sort of rest doesn't just come
to us; we have to make it happen if it's going to happen.
The Zen masters know the truth--to be caught up in endless
"doing" is simply to miss one of the major
points in life: that we are more than our bodies,
and that we should not base our ideas of worth on the
performance of these bodies. Monks and mystics
through the ages have recognized the value of meditation
in the form of long walks and long periods of time spent
getting to know our minds and our mind's processes.
Days when I
do nothing always turn out to be awesome, and I've learned
to deal with the guilt that I place on myself for not
accomplishing more with those days. Sometimes I'll
even do a lot for three hours in the morning and spend the
rest of the day just relaxing--while it's a bit of a
compromise, it's one that works for me. At least I
give myself the chance now and then to rest completely in
mind, body, and spirit.