Thursday, November 4, 2010


I love the statement by Jon Kabat-Zinn in his book, Wherever You Go, There You Are, that “it takes great courage and energy to cultivate non-doing, both in stillness and in activity.” I would add that it also takes lots of practice!

I recognize the gifts inherent in cultivating non-doing, but in our doing-oriented world, it is often difficult to just be. One would think that ceasing doing for awhile would be the easiest thing in the world, a simple choice to make. It is a choice, but one often fraught with repercussions when things are expected of us.

It does take courage to keep reminding ourselves that the panic to get things done is part of the world, but not who we are. And it can feel like a big leap of faith to fully accept things exactly as they are, and with ourselves as we are, trusting that all is as it should be. It always takes courage to place our trust in a higher, unseen truth.

It also takes a lot of energy to stick with it, to be in the world, and immersed in our days, but constantly remembering to reset our reality to one that for the most part doesn’t mesh with what is around us. As Kabat-Zinn says, “The doing mode is usually so strong in us that the cultivation of non-doing ironically takes considerable effort.” Sometimes, rather than going with the flow of life's hectic pace, we need to make a conscious decision to just stop.

When we do choose to stop and just be for a moment, the awareness that nothing else is really needed but our presence in our experience can bring immense joy and clarity. It is a great paradox that we can also choose non-doing in our activity as we take our steps throughout the day, fulfilling our roles and being the people who we are.

According to Kabat-Zinn, “Non-doing doesn’t have to be threatening to people who feel they always need to get things done. They might find they get even more “done”,” and done better, by practicing non-doing.” “Non-doing simply means letting things be and allowing them to unfold in their own way.”

Words to live by!  And I am, as always, grateful for the reminder.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

1 comment:

  1. For all the doers out there, I thought your closing remarks were helpful. By being instead of constantly doing, more gets done - this has been my experience! Completely counter-intuitive, but very interesting!