As my husband and I celebrate our one month of RV (Recreational Vehicle) life-style adventure, I wanted to share with you a wonderful day we spent doing nothing. For many of us who are born and raised in western Culture, it is challenging to do nothing. We are taught to be productive and time should not be wasted. There are even time management experts who teaches courses on how not to waste your time. Yet as I began my study of meditation, I have learned the importance of doing nothing.
Today we are staying in St Augustine, Florida. A beautiful, charming, historical downtown is worth exploring. This is the first American city and there are so much to be discovered. However, we decided to enjoy the breeze, feast our eyes on the green grove of trees that surrounds us and listen to the chatter of birds who are resting in the branches of the maple tree that is shading our Honu (name our grand-daughter gave to our RV home).
What a joy to be able to do nothing. We are simply being. We do not feel lazy. On the contrary, we feel very productive. We are giving ourselves a chance to recharge our battery and becoming more open.
The following teaching is by Sogyal Rinpoche, from Glimpse of the Day
"How many of us are swept away by what I have come to call an “active laziness”? Naturally there are different species of laziness: Eastern and Western. The Eastern style consists of hanging out all day in the sun, doing nothing, avoiding any kind of work or useful activity, drinking cups of tea and gossiping with friends. Western laziness is quite different. It consists of cramming our lives with compulsive activity, so that there is no time left to confront the real issues.
If we look into our lives, we will see clearly how many unimportant tasks, so-called “responsibilities” accumulate to fill them up. One master compares them to “housekeeping in a dream.” We tell ourselves we want to spend time on the important things of life, but there never is any time.
Helpless, we watch our days fill up with telephone calls and petty projects, with so many responsibilities—or should we call them “responsibilities”?
'We are so addicted to looking outside ourselves that we have lost access to our inner being almost completely. We are terrified to look inward, because our culture has given us no idea of what we will find. We may even think that if we do, we will be in danger of madness. This is one of the last and most resourceful ploys of ego to prevent us from discovering our real nature.So we make our lives so hectic that we eliminate the slightest risk of looking into ourselves. Even the idea of meditation can scare people. When they hear the words ego-less or emptiness, they think that experiencing those states will be like being thrown out the door of a spaceship to float forever in a dark, chilling void. Nothing could be further from the truth. But in a world dedicated to distraction, silence and stillness terrify us; we protect ourselves from them with noise and frantic busyness. Looking into the nature of our mind is the last thing we would dare to do."
For those of us who grew up reading Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne, here are some wise quotes by Pooh Bear.
"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known."
"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day."
"Don't underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering."
"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together. There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you."
"Always watch where you are going. Otherwise, you may step on a piece of the Forest that was left out by mistake."
Give sometime for yourself. Walk under the sun, in the rain, under the moonlight. Enjoy life!
Sat Nam -- Cathi