The Importance of Doing Nothing
Can we have a moment of silence? Apparently not haha. It seems that the only time most of us have moments of pure solitude, silence, and nothingness is during the process of trying to fall asleep (that is if you’re sleeping alone). As discussed in my last post about boredom, there are countless distractions available to us at all times. Doing nothing often equates to having nothing better to do in our conditioned minds. Why sit in silence when there are a million others things to do?
1. It gives you a well needed separation and break from constant stimulation.
I’m sure you can all see the importance of this point. When you are constantly bombarded with technology, the noise of the city, interacting with others, work, school, entertainment, and so much more, it’s great to disconnect from all of that for just a few minutes. You’ll notice that when you first try to do nothing, your brain will still be buzzing and extremely active for the first few minutes. This is layover from the over stimulation of the brain. You see, even when your conscious brain isn’t super active, the subconscious brain is taking in everything. So when you sit in front of television screens, socialize in party environments, run around the work place doing a multitude of tasks and whatever else you’re trying to do, the brain is taking in everything. Therefore, it is important to give the brain time to relax and recover outside of the normal sleep periods.
After a few minutes you will begin to feel the mind and body relax as it adjusts to the peace of not being forced into heavy energy, heavy stimuli environments and situations. You will receive clarity and peace during this process, as you are giving the mind, body, and soul something that it needs…balance.
Stimuli – a thing or event that rouses activity or energy in someone or something.
2. Doing nothing allows you to really observe and analyze your thought process.
As stated above, during the first few minutes of this quiet time of nothingness, your mind will still be buzzing. It is also expected for many people to feel restless. There is this innate urge to always be doing something and providing some sort of external stimulation. What I suggest you do during this time is just observe your thought process. Watch how the activity and abundance of your thoughts shift during this process. What are you thinking most about during this time? This is a great way to really observe your current state and priorities. When you are listening to music or doing some activity, you are still thinking during that time. However, you are less able to pay attention to the flow and theme of thought. You simply allow each thought, in their infinite abundance, to come and go. I’ll provide an example.
I actually took 15 minutes to lay down in the living room in complete silence and relax. I was quite resistant and restless during the first 3 or 4 minutes. I felt like I could be doing something better with my time and had a large web of thought. This slowly began to subside as time went on and a wave of calmness came over me. I started to observe my dominate thought themes. I found myself focusing on the various seasons of my life and what they entailed. I was also able to observe that I had a level of anxiousness within me that day. This anxiety revolved around feeling like I wasn’t accomplishing as much as I needed to. Through this realization, I was able to reassure myself that I am doing as I am supposed to do and that things take time to manifest.
3. Doing nothing creates contrast in your experience of reality.
This is a slightly more abstract idea. What I mean by this is the following. This life of duality here on Earth is all about contrast. A rock is only hard to us because our skin is softer than it. You’re only able to fully embrace and appreciate moments of happiness if you’ve experienced and understand what sadness or anger is. If you are constantly in loud and busy environments, actively doing something, etc, then you are not providing room for that contrast. When you allow 15-20 minutes of peaceful nothingness and return to listening to music or doing an activity, you will hear the music in a whole new way. You will perform that activity with new found vigor and productiveness.
So, with all of this being said, the power is now in your hands. When possible, find the opportunity to do…nothing. You can do this out in nature, in your bedroom, living room, anywhere! You can close your eyes or leave them open. You can lay down, sit in lotus position, or sit in a chair. There are no real rules except for silence, at least a moderate level of stillness, and absence of controllable distractions. I must add that I am not counting those moments when you wake up in the morning and lay in bed lazily. This time of nothingness should be an active decision during a time where you are presented with other things to do. As a final word of advice, if you can survive the initial few minutes of uneasiness, then you will be just fine haha!