We have been conditioned to do something all the time. Even when we don’t want to, even when we feel that we would rather stay in bed and just lay there, we still find the courage to get out of bed and make ourselves useful. The thought of sitting idle for the modern man is almost akin to sin.
I beg to differ here on such a notion. We spend our entire lives running. Running after food, running to work, running to manage the house, running to please everyone, running to look after the kids. Do you notice the constant theme here? Running. Doing something, anything, all the time.
In fact sometimes when we have nothing to do, we apply the old maxim to ourselves, “keep your hands busy.” So we run to the kitchen and start baking. Or for neat freaks like myself, I start tidying all the cupboards and drawers in the house. It isn’t so bad either. After all, nothing kills a man more than boredom, right?
Cultural and social conditioning has developed our DNA in a way that we cannot stand idleness. We just have to stay busy. It’s important. We don’t exactly know why, but it is. Most annoyingly, when the old lady asks us at a tea party what we have been doing lately, there should be a two feet long list of things we did in the past week for us to talk about. The longer the list, the greater is our credibility. The greater the credibility, the greater our rankings in respect and honor.
Although I would say that at certain age groups, like that of teens or below, one should be kept busy at all times. Even if that means shredding the newspaper and then gluing it together. Yes, an idle mind in children could be a devil’s snare. But what about those of us who are over 25 years of age? Should we run too all the time because that is the way it always has been and if not we would be stoned for doing nothing.
Youngsters of today have this new term I quite like. It’s called ‘chilling’. When you ask them what they’ve been doing all day in their room, they’ll tell you in a one word, ”chilling”, and you understand. To give this slang a more profound name, I call it the art of doing nothing.
Once you learn of this special art or skill, you’ll find yourself at a greater peace. I realized that since the time I started honing this great skill, I have plenty of time to reflect and ponder. Many a times I find myself sitting by myself, smiling into space. The moment when you zone out of this reality, you can look over with a birds eye view at your own life. You see things that you wouldn’t otherwise which are perhaps only at an arms length.
The art of doing nothing helps you accustom yourself to a greater perspective. Which is otherwise usually lost in the fervor of busy hankerings of the day. The art of doing nothing is a noble art and should be practiced from time to time.
Meditation, too, if you please is designed according to the same principle of the art of doing nothing. While meditating you do, well, nothing. Nothingness, I believe is one of the profound theories of philosophy, but why go into the mundane details, when I am telling you to practice this honorable art at least for a couple of minutes everyday. And if someone asks you what you’re thinking or doing, just smile and say, ”chilling”.