January 4, 2016

Maybe the Only Thing to Do is Nothing.

Matt Benson/Unsplash

“The soul usually knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.”
~ Carolyn Myss

The reality that the answer to our problems is often simpler than we can imagine is often not the good news story we might expect.

This is part of the struggle of our human lives. We want answers, but we also want to be in control because we desperately want to be more comfortable.

We want to feel safer, better, freer and more confident about who we are and what we are doing, and we want to do this through “knowing” what we are supposed to do.

But over time, the more we struggle against the current of uncertainty, the more we start to notice that this “knowing” is actually impossible.

We can’t ever really know what is going to happen tomorrow, next year or even in five minutes, and if you are a person with a beating heart and a human mind this is probably aggravating to you.

However, most of us cover up this aggravation by just deciding.

We decide what is going to happen in five minutes, tomorrow and five years from now. We decide by forming an illusion or a plan in our minds, and sometimes these illusions or plans are actually worst-case scenarios we spend all of our time terrified about.

This is one of the best reasons to start practicing meditation—to end this crazy-making cycle of make believe in the mind and come more into the reality of the moment and all the sanity that lies here.

But still, no matter how much meditation we practice, the planning mind stays alive and well.

The planning mind is looking at the past, seeing what worked and what didn’t work, and then devising ideas and suggestions for how to act in the future.

And this is the problem right here. The mind only has what it has learned in the past to go on. It is trying to make a plan for the future based on very limited resources about what it has previously learned.

Over the last few years, I have tried to drop more and more out of the planning mind and instead attempted to be guided by intention. I have tried to look at the broader picture of where I want to go and who I want to be and let the intention to open my heart, be of service and come into soul purpose guide my way.

This has been a tremendous shift.

But as I sit here in the first few days of 2016, there is only one word that keeps coming to me as a guiding force.

And this word is “Nothing.”

Do nothing, be nothing, think nothing, strive for nothing.

Just nothing.

I am being guided to let the nothingness lead me.

I have no clue what this means.

(The irony that I am writing an article, which really feels like doing something, about this new intention to do nothing, has not escaped me.)

But here is what happened.

I steered my awareness to the nothingness. I made no mental decision about what I should do with myself this evening and then I found myself walking to the computer. I sat down to watch TV or just space out, and this article starting writing itself in my mind.

I feel like I am doing nothing.

And there are so many ways my ego doesn’t like this.

My agenda book for the week is basically empty, and I want to make plans or at least set an intention like self-care, or open to business opportunities for the coming week, if not the entire coming year.

But every time I try to align with one of those concepts, guess what I hear inside of me?


This nothingness feels open.

It feels light and empty and non-demanding.

There is no striving, no self-berating, no have-to’s or I wants.

To tell you the truth, it feels like nothing.

And because this nothingness is new to me, it is unsettling, but only in the subtlest of ways.

So, I am going to just go with it.

I am going to set my intention on the word “nothing” and come back to this aligned state every time my mind wants to make a decision or a plan.

Nothing will be my North Star and my guess is it will take me to nowhere, which is probably exactly where I will find I wanted to be.


Relephant Read:

The Space Between: Discovering Something where Nothing Lies.


Author: Ruth Lera

Editor: Toby Israel

Image: Matt Benson/Unsplash


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