By having identified the value in doing nothing, (doing nothing as different from doing any other activity of simply noticing what we are experiencing, exactly, now), through the relinquishing of doing any other activity, for the duration of an allotted amount of time, and following through with engaging in this kind of endeavor for the allotted amount of time deliberately set aside, we are using our human-faculties to experience life differently than if we were with entertainment or socializing.
Perhaps we can ask ourselves again, why are doing this, why are we doing nothing, why are we doing this to ourselves—just staring at the carpet—not engaging at anything—isn’t our whole lives built around doing something, ensuring we get stuff done, ensuring we’re never bored, ensuring that there’s always something to do—so what’s the point of all this, looking at nothing, looking at the negative-space which surrounds our lives?
By relinquishing engagement on any other activity for the allotted time for doing nothing, we are exploring looking at what is occurring in the immediacy of our experience, even if, in the immediacy of our experience all we want to do is watch TV. We are just there with it, noticing what is occurring in our experience, just as it is.
We are just there with it, with whatever it is that is occurring, and we’re just there with it, and we’re looking, we’re looking at life from the eyes of not doing anything else, but experiencing ourselves just for what it is to be ourselves; and not do anything else, nothing else at all, but breathing and feeling, experiencing and noticing; what it means to be doing nothing, and through this endeavor recognizing the negative-space which surrounds our lives.
It is challenging.
It can be challenging to see all the things we’re doing while we’re not doing anything, it can be very challenging, an eye-opener about all the ways we’re trying to fill space, and habitually trying to turn-away from the emptiness that surrounds our lives. It can be very revealing, very shocking to see how our minds are trying to figure things out, trying to run-away, ignore, or justify, but it is by experiencing how are and recognizing our tendencies, during the time we’ve allotted for doing nothing, that we learn so much about ourselves, our lives, and our habits of mind.
And as we engage this way, of deliberately doing nothing, we are developing new patterns of cellular functionality and developing the potential for the release of unconscious trauma. When we engage in this way, we are being with our aloneness.
And such aloneness, (knowing now of the relief that comes with knowing there is a way to profoundly transform our limited abilities for dealing with discomfort, into developmentally being able to handle more discomfort without taking it personally), we may also simultaneously experience disappointment.
We were promised so much, from how we were raised, from our society, and culture, from our entertainment and our paycheck, about what it is to have a life—and that we could have fun when we go to the movies, and make memories with loved ones—
but now suddenly, by examining the negative-space which surrounds our lives by deliberately engaging in the activity of doing nothing, everything may suddenly appear as if all the stuff of our lives was only used to ward away pain and consume pleasure—that all we’ve been trying to do whether we knew it or not, was to forget about death and neglect looking at ourselves out of a fear for everything we’d actually have to face and see.
It can be very disappointing to recognize all the ways we’ve been fooling ourselves about life, and how our entire society and culture aims to assist us to do so; enabling us to do something else, rather than doing what it is we are doing exactly at this moment. It can be very disappointing to see the billions upon billions of potential distractions in a single-instant, to see that somethings have been solely invented to distract us from the chance moments of finding ourselves desiring to waste-time. It can be very disappointing to see our habits to disengage from the immediacy of our experience to remain within the norms of social standards attached to the significance of time.
We’ve been told the importance of hard work and have been measuring our self-worth in comparison to the status-quo, and suddenly we find ourselves finding the value in doing nothing, and in so doing, to make a commitment to ourselves to not continue our days without setting aside allotted time for doing nothing everyday. Then suddenly we see how we’ve been going about our lives, up until now, as having been generated from a false sense of time and a false sense of personal ideas and ideals about reality, about what is.
Although we can discover relief in experiencing the known fact of our potential transformation, we also can discover the disappointment of everything in our lives that does not point us towards our own aloneness, and being with ourselves, just as we are in the immediacy of a moment.
It is extremely disappointing to see how our culture and society values nothing to do with aloneness. In general our society fears aloneness and nothing in consumer mythos even comes close to acknowledging it. It is counter to the manifest characteristics of trauma, both in ourselves and in the outer consumer world to mention aloneness, because that would mean we would be able to think for ourselves, and we would be able to navigate through layers of illusive tendencies both in ourselves and what the world says, both consciously and unconsciously, which would be indicative of having exhausted the possibility of no longer buying our own or the collective’s lies.
To experience disappointment is to experience the beginning of genuine acceptance. There is zero genuine acceptance without first experiencing the depths of disappointment in our psyches. Acceptance is the aftermath of having experienced disappointment, and going through the stages of grief in order to finally experience a sense of relief, relaxation, okayness with reality just as it is.
We’ve told ourselves lies, some consciously some unconsciously. Our families have told us lies, some consciously some unconsciously. Society and consumer culture has told us lies, consciously and unconsciously. The illusions of the discourse of how the imprints of trauma and their manifesting characteristics function in our psychology: ignorance, positivism, and aggression, can be very illuminating to recognize in how we’ve played into our own warding away for direct experience, but also penetratingly disappointing upon the foreground of experiencing the reality of what is immediately going on, just as it is, and our corresponding multitude of habits for distorting the constant negative-space surrounding our lives.
We’re acknowledging disappointment.
Disappointment is hard to look at.
Now to feel it, and let it in, is to simultaneously make room for the potential of the end of disappointment; acceptance of what is. The acceptance of what is, is the acknowledgement of what is real and what we cannot change, with a basic sense of relief, that we are no longer fooling ourselves about what we want and what we wish. This kind acceptance is not a submission of will, but a transformation of having experienced disappointment as an involvement of grief. Having grieved we naturally perk up and look forward to what may arise next.
By tuning into the negative-space which surrounds our lives, one of the first recognitions we might encounter is the disappointment of everything our lives have been trying to do, to ward off looking from the eyes of doing nothing. It can be, at first, heart-breaking, but at the same time we can recognize, we are no longer fooling ourselves.
We will die.
Everyone we know will die.
You reading this will die.
Your relationship to your life is personal and intimate, and your journey with being with yourself in recognizing the negative-space which surrounds your life, our lives, and all of life, is and also will be intimate.
We can’t bring along anything with us when we die. Not our loved ones, not our houses, not our bodies, not everything we worked for, not our struggles and not our successes, we can’t bring any of it with us, none of it.
It is all so disappointing.
But it is through experiencing the disappointment of having recognized our ways of warding away life and its reality of death, that we can begin to abide in life in a different way. Now, appreciation can naturally arise. Appreciation for our lives, for the subtleties of moments between ourselves and our environments, daily interactions, and connection with the world. Appreciation naturally arises as the result of having recognized the futility in ourselves for trying so hard to block pain and consume pleasure. Things are just what they are, and one day we will be dead, and so naturally, it arises in us to deliberately acknowledge what is happening around us, to, without indulgence, enjoy the things around us, and to naturally express the gratitude for the time we have while we are doing the things we do.
As we examine the disappointment which surrounds our lives, internally and externally, we enter into an unfolding experience of grief. Grief leads us to the freedom from inaccurate thinking, false ideals, and clarifications for motivation, and provides us refined simple ways of seeing our lives, and life, and how to accomplish tasks with more efficiency, while in the awareness of appreciation.
Appreciative-awareness allows us to move more freely with the challenges of our daily, immediate moments.
Doing nothing, may now become that much more simpler to do, that much more imperative to our wellbeing, that much more necessary to the functionality of not fooling ourselves about reality, and the noise which surrounds our lives, and has become that much more motivational for engaging on a daily basis.
When we are just as we are exactly where we are with whatever it is we are experiencing, we are practicing what it will be to die, and in so doing, we are practicing how to appreciate being alive.