Non-Doing: The Number One Stress Buster

I had written about non-doing here, but since then I’ve learnt something else about non-doing, one of the seven mindful attitudes that Jon-Kabat Zinn speaks of. And what I have learnt is that I had been missing the obvious part of ‘non-doing’, which is literally ‘not doing anything at all, just contemplate what there is’. Thus non-doing is not just about not forcing reality to be what we wish it to be, but to simply sit and contemplate reality for the sake of contemplating it.

I believe the whole pleasure of non-doing is actually to be able to sit, especially if you think you still have a very busy day ahead of you, and to just witness how clock time goes by and how you don’t have to do anything at all, in that moment, to make the world and life keep unfolding themselves. That small detail is what I was missing – the ability to just witness life itself without acting upon it, without pursuing the craving of changing reality or myself according to my higher beliefs.

So when I allowed myself to just sit in my balcony and made an effort in order not to engage with my meditation book, smartphone or anything else, when I focused my attention in not doing anything and just let my body rest in the chair, witnessing whatever was around me with a kind mind, I finally grasped something more about ‘non-doing’ and felt the accumulated stress leaving my body at the same time. It was as if everything that I had been worrying or thinking about doing had actually no importance or urgency at all. There was something more important, which is to fully witness the present moment and savour it just as it is.

Moreover, non-doing for the sake of non-doing is not only a quick stress buster but also a nice boost to the amount of pleasure we feel daily. You may see yourself suddenly surrounded by beauty and stare with great awe at the small life details that surround you. For instances, yesterday’s evening, while I was sitting in my balcony and watching a little bird flying high in the sky, I realised how irrelevant some of the life busyness is and how unnecessarily we get caught up in the false belief of having to do it all, including solving life’s biggest mysteries, right now.

And we don’t. All we have to do is to be with and witness life’s own unfolding, to realise that we are just a small part of the whole and thus we can’t control or carry the whole world on our shoulders. Sometimes we really need and must only sit back and let life take the wheel and drive.



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