Posted in Being Someone

The Art of Doing Nothing

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?

Wrong.

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”.

Posted in Being Someone, Questions

“And so, I’ve got nothing to do”

So, what happened is, that mankind kept inventing to a point when ploughs were replaced by desktops, horses were replaced by automobiles, cattle was replaced by the milkman and story-telling was replaced by WWF boxing. But that wasn’t enough for man, so he settled with the stakes a notch higher. Today, everything is smart. We have automatic cars, a smart phones, IPad is ‘smart’ for a desktop, then we have dry milk which has altogether replaced the institution of a ‘milkman’. Whereas, boxing, has been replaced by facebook.
In all these very smart times, I wonder if man has outsmarted himself? Especially, when all a man does in a day is; coaxing buttons of remote-controls, keyboards, phones, ATMs, etc. and turning the steering wheel. Texting, heating the food in microwave, facebooking, watching ‘Two and a Half Men’ on Starworld- life should be easier for mankind. Man should have nothing to complain about. Still, everyone complains about how everything is ‘complicated’. About all the stress, the depressions, the insane outbursts of frustration. I again wonder, if man has outsmarted himself?
With a life that is termed to be ‘easier’ than that of our predecessors, we have so much of time in our hands. Man did, outsmart himself. He created so many luxuries, that he is left with little to do. With all the time that is saved, what is man doing today to kill his free time. So man, once again, did it again. To kill the time that he spent centuries saving, he invented facebook and Hollywood. Mobile phones, that as they put it, ‘carries the whole world’ within them. Everything invented today, which is smarter than it was before, helps man to while away the time, which should never have been whiled away.
My brother, who is thirteen, has a habit of coming to me on weekends and asking me, “what should I do?” As a child, I never remember asking my mother that. I had so much to do. When twenty years ago, were also smarter times, I had ways of spending my free time. Playing outside, reading, journaling, sketching, or listening to my grandmother’s bed-time stories. I remember moments from long ago, when I used to just sit in our garden, and did nothing. When I do that today, my folks get worried, because I’m not busy. They think something is terribly wrong. I don’t blame them, their generation was also taught to be super busy all the time.
What I’m trying to say here is, is it important to do something all the time? Is that the purpose of mankind? Never be at rest, so that after we’re dead, the epitaph on our headstones reads, ‘rest in peace’. Why can’t mankind learn the basic requirement to be human is to ‘be’? And that too during our life, not after we’re done with it. We needn’t be doing something or trying to be somebody all the time. If that was the case, man of today wouldn’t be so confused to an extent that he thought it best to go back to basics. Praying, meditation, ‘blogging’ (smart form for journaling), organic food versus lab food, anonymous group discussions where strangers tell each other personal stories, healing clubs, and therapists.
Man has indeed, outsmarted himself, for today he goes around saying, “and so, I’ve got nothing to do.”