Friday, January 16, 2015

Rhythms of Life: Doing and Nondoing

Rhythms of Life:  Doing and Nondoing

Alternation is a natural rhythm that is woven into the fabric of life on this planet.  We go back and forth between day and night and the seasons of the year.  By tuning into and aligning ourselves with alternation, we can come into deeper harmony with life.  When alternation is not naturally present, by creating it, we bring our lives into greater balance

Consciously alternating between doing and nondoing is a very powerful lifestyle practice.  It can free us from attachments and habits and transform the quality of our experience.

In our society, with its outside-in orientation, doing and achieving are generally valued more highly than nondoing and being.  We are constantly in motion, trying to make things happen the way we want them to happen.  We become human doings, identifying with our accomplishments rather our state of being.

This approach is very stressful.  We put ourselves under continual pressure to perform.  This self-imposed pressure often leads to erratic performance, not to mention unhappiness.

The antidote for this is to take frequent breaks from activity.  Be still for a moment and check in with yourself.  If there is an accumulation of stress in your body/mind, let yourself feel that for a moment.   Notice what is without judging or resisting.  Then, put your attention on the one who is noticing.  Take a moment or two to relax into yourself, feeling that sense of peaceful awareness that’s always present, just waiting for you to slow down enough to notice it once again.

When you resume activity, the movement will come from a very different place than before.  It will tend to be effortless and natural, perhaps even joyful.  The stress that comes from pushing yourself will be gone.

In my next blog, I’ll have more say about the benefits of this lifestyle practice and how to make it a regular part of your life.

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