I have come to feel that nothing is more tonic—more urgent, in fact—than simply doing nothing. ~Pico Iyer
What is the art of doing nothing? Is it just a fancy spin on lazy navel gazing? Or is it, like many suggest, an important refresher for your brain and a profound contemplative practice?
These days “doing nothing” is getting some much-needed attention. In the past, you might have been chastised by your parents or your partner for sitting on the couch and staring into space.
Maybe it’s just me, but many an adult had to corral my do-nothing dream states into focused and productive attention.
The Importance Of Doing Nothing
Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering. ~Winnie The Pooh
Doing nothing, they say, is important for your brain, and it helps stimulate the creative process.
In fact, brain researcher Marcus Raichle from Washington University discovered that idle time was critical for the activation of the brain’s default mode network.
The default mode network is the part of your prefrontal cortex responsible for, among other things, forging creative connections between seemingly unrelated ideas.
The Sweet Idleness
Many of the wisest voices in our tradition, from Whitman to Thoreau, have talked about the virtue of loafing. The less you struggle with a problem, the more it’s likely to solve itself. The less time you spend frantically running around, the more productive you are likely to be. ~Pico Iyer
Of course the very idea of doing nothing raises red flags for those of us is the West, possessed as we are with our focus on hyper-productivity and rooted in the puritan work ethic.
But according to psychologist Dr. Colleen Long, other cultures view this idea more favorably. The Italians, for example, have a word for this called “La Dolce Far Niente,” which translates as the sweet idleness.
The Sweet Spot Of Meditation
Doing nothing has another related value with a rich and ancient heritage. You may not realize it, but doing nothing is what meditation is all about. You could even say that it’s the sweet spot of your practice.
In this episode of The OneMind Meditation podcast, we explore the art of doing nothing in meditation and why it’s so important. We explore:
- How to do nothing
- The challenge of doing nothing
- How your mind behaves when you do nothing
- Why your crazy mind isn’t your fault
- The value and power of doing nothing
- The limitless peace you find when you do nothing
- If you enjoyed this podcast, you may also like our Meditation for Life Mini Course
- Learn more about the Golden Rule in this self-paced course, How To Free Your Mind & Discover Deep Peace
- Take a self-paced introduction to Meditation and explore the Core Training Program
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