Doing nothing can be a waste of time, or it can be an art form. Your first baby step is to make the doing-of-nothing a small event and try not to think about it too much. Just drop the thing you’re doing and you’re there. Don’t use a timer — just try to overcome the need to get up and water the plants that suddenly seem extremely dry. It’s a relief and not a task.
Doing nothing, in the true sense of the word, can be overwhelming if you attempt to do too much nothing at once. Do small nothings at first. Focus on 5-10 minutes at a time, and start your practice sessions in a safe place — at home, not at work or in a busy public place. You may also not be ready to do nothing in the middle of nature, so do it in your bedroom or living room. The first place to start in the quest for mastery over this art is in your breathing. If this sounds suspiciously like meditation, well, cast those suspicions out of your mind. An important part of doing nothing is being able to completely relax. If we are tense, then the doing of the nothing is really for naught. Relaxing starts by finding a comfortable place to do your nothing — a soft chair, a plush couch, a well-made, clean bed.
I truly love to do nothing in nature. At the beginning it was a bit difficult; when you close your eyes and concentrate on yourself, there are really a lot of sounds that surround you. Out here in nature, you can practice the art for 20 minutes, an hour, or even longer. Find a peaceful place — in your front yard if that’s peaceful, a park, the woods, at the beach, a river, a lake — places with water are excellent. Places out of reach of the sounds of traffic and city life are best. The Art of Doing Nothing cannot be mastered overnight. It will take hours and hours of practice, of hard work (doing nothing isn’t easy!). But you will enjoy every minute of it!
Doing nothing has a lot of enemies. If you stand still, your brain will provide lots of activities for you to do. Your thoughts will tell you: Water your plants! Read one of the 12 articles you were planning to read! It can be stressful to try to push those thoughts out, fail, and then be disappointed that you can’t even do nothing. So lower your expectations and don’t force yourself into the niks. If you’re really hopeless at doing nothing, try starting on a rainy day. It won’t feel so weird that instead of going out to buy supplies to finally fix up your roof terrace, you’re just sitting on the couch, watching the rain.
This is a lovely art and something that will really make you feel different. Just try.
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