• Arjun Som

The Art of Doing Nothing

Most of us are busier than we would like to be. We complain about not having enough time to spend with our dear ones, pursue our passion or even to just relax and enjoy the beauty around us. It seems almost difficult to enjoy anything without being interrupted by an urgent mail or phone call. I doubt there was ever a time when understanding the art of doing nothing was more significant.

Art of doing nothing can be viewed as a practice as well as a way of being – much like meditation. Some view meditation as the 15 minutes they sit in silence, for others it is the silence beneath every noise and the order beneath every chaos. In this article, we are going to explore the way of being - what it means to live from the space of nothingness?

The idea behind the art of doing nothing is not about restraining from activities, nor is it an excuse to be lazy. It is an invitation to allow what needs to happen through us without interfering with the natural course of action. It is about discovering the most effortless way of being productive.

The most important thing to understand about the ‘art of doing nothing’ is that it is not about the number of activities we do or not do, but about the number of activities born out of love as opposed to the activities born out of fear. It is about the harmony between our thoughts, feelings and action. It is about how aligned our actions and behaviours are to our intention. This is the reason why some engage in hundreds of activities yet be in an effortless flow and harmony while some others struggle with a handful of them.

What I mean by activities born out of love or fear in this context is the motivation behind doing the activity. There are some activities we do from a sense of fear or lack - I am not good enough, I don’t have enough or I am not loved enough. The motivation behind such activities is to fill the lack and is driven by external motivation.  The issue with our attempt to fill such lack is that the lack in itself is an illusion in our mind and hence can’t be filled. Such activities don’t give us joy as it is a constant reminder of the lack/fear we feel within.

I am not saying we should never act out of fear, but I am saying, the more our activities are born out of fear or a sense of lack, the more we feel and sound like a victim. The more we are aware of it, it helps us to make a conscious choice and set ourselves free from a lot of unnecessary weight we carry on our shoulder.

The simplest way to identify if our action is born out of love or fear is by looking at the reasons we have for doing or not doing it. The actions born out of love will have a reason rooted in love, trust and possibilities while the actions born out of fear will have at its root a sense of fear or lack. And the difference in these energies is easier felt than understood.  You need to trust your gut - no one knows better than you.

The more we chase fear, the more it will chase us back. If we stop for a moment to meet it – not as an enemy but as a wound needing our love and attention – we will witness it melt before us. In her Ted talk, The Paradox of Desire, Amber Krzys says, “our desires show us two things, what we want and where we need the most healing”.  That means, not all our desires are to be chased, some are here to reveal us to a wound or a lack we feel within. Let’s identify them and choose our actions consciously.

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