January 24

Occasionally indulging in
a do-nothing day is more
than worth the price.

Malcolm Forbes


Today's Meditation:

Some 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.

Questions to consider:

Why have we been taught to feel guilty for not accomplishing something particular on any given day? 

How many "do-nothing" days do you plan for yourself?  Is there anything wrong with planning such a day? 

How do we view other people who are doing nothing on a particular day?  Do we view ourselves the same way? 

For further thought:

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass
on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching
the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.

John Lubbock


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