Strangely, this is a very strong and controversial statement. Even though people are always striving for retirement and leisure on the weekend and saving their money in hopes that someday they will be able to “do nothing”, if you suggest this course of action as a strategy for productivity or inner peace you are inevitably going to come up against resistance.
I am a champion at doing nothing. And I’ll write more about that soon, but this article isn’t actually about that. It relates to a section I recently read in A Course In Miracles (ACIM) entitled “I Need Do Nothing” which reveals a strategy for getting closer to God (ie. being present in the moment, experiencing inner peace, becoming enlightened) which focuses on the body, or rather removing focus from the body.
After renewing my inspiration to write for this blog on a regular basis I picked up ACIM for the first time in quite a while. I’m working my way through the lessons. I’m up to lesson 200 and I stopped a while back because I was losing focus and decided to take a break.
So upon returning to the book and reading the text where I had left off the words really resonated with me. It says that we rely too much on our body to survive and “do” our work in the world and suggests the radical move to “utterly forget the body”. Lessons like these are rarely literal so I’ll try to keep the expression of my interpretation simple. The body itself is going to be worthy of hundreds of articles of exploration and experimentation.
First, I’d like to start with the literal body. At the beginning of every day I go for a walk in the park. This is my way of getting focused and getting a little bit closer to nature in the big city. I burn calories. I loosen up my muscles. And I get some much needed fresh air. When I return I get right down to work and it feels amazing. I don’t go to the gym these days. I am a butch dyke and I’m athletic but I rarely play in team sports. I’ll tend to do solo activities like boxing, running, swimming, or biking. Lately though, my pace has been a walking pace. Occasionally I feel guilty about not pushing myself more, for not doing everything I can do to be fit and trim. I am, afterall, pushing 40 and the waistline expands much more easily with every year that passes.
The “I Need Do Nothing” section says that we always place our bodies in the past or in the future. “It is always remembered or anticipated, but never experienced just now.” Going to the gym and purposefully trying to lose weight or get buff would be a literal expression of that statement. I look at my body and I think it’s bigger than it used to be (past) and think I need to make it smaller again (future). The point of “I Need Do Nothing” is to get you into the present. Eternity and peace is in the present moment. I know that if you’re reading this you’re likely a person who seeks to be more present in life. (And I’ll be sure to write plenty about that as we go along.)
Dr. David R. Hawkins states in all of his lectures that nothing is causing anything and that everything is happening of its own. This is what comes to mind when I’m asked to embody the sentiment “I Need Do Nothing”. By surrendering doing as it relates to the body I begin allowing. The only thing required to fully get into the present and to experience the moment of pure peace and love is to let go of past rememberings, future imaginings and realize that I need do nothing. No doing of simplicity is required. No action of detachment is needed.
Take this opportunity right now. Be radical. Let go of the guilt of the past and the pressure of the future and simply do nothing. Find that place within and let it be for just one second. When you return to doing you will be changed and eventually that central place of peace within will get easier and easier to access. Then the magic of allowing the world and your life and your actions to unfold on their own will reveal itself to you with amazing results.