Here is a true, sad story that could have turned out differently had I not been blindly following the inner slave drivers dictations, not slowing down enough to hear the truer voices guiding me more deeply. Last fall I was living in a small apartment with 6 other units in the building. The man on the floor below me kept to himself, and had an odd eerie manner about him. He barely would respond to a hello. Often, at the foot of my stairs, his door would have a package or two outside of it, until he brought it in. One day a couple packages were delivered. They were there the next day, too. I had a weird feeling that second day, like something wasn't right. But I just went about my normal day, ignoring any inner nudges. The next day the packages remained blocking his door. This man did not seem someone who would go off on extended trips to visit family or friends, and I continued to have a foreboding feeling. One of those days I even noticed, and asked my friend if he noticed, a weird smell as we walked up the stairs. He didn't really smell anything. Then I admitted my fear that the man had died in his room. I said, “I am sure I am just being paranoid.” I did nothing about my intuitive bad feeling. A few days later, I got a huge waft of the worst smell you can imagine, and suddenly knew with great clarity that I had been right for days. The EMT's were there, and the man had been dead for a week or so. I began to shake intensely and immediately vacated the building, bursting into tears, and crying for a couple hours. It turns out he had been sick with cancer for 6 years, though I hadn't know this.
Things could have been different had I trusted my inner guidance. At the least I could have spared myself, and others living in the building, that intensely visceral feeling of stomach turning repulsion and shock, and the haunting feelings that followed for weeks. At best I might have been able to get him the care he needed to not die alone in his apartment, and stay there unnoticed for a week.
Which brings me to sharing with you the biggest secret to why resting, or doing Nothing, is so Holy: as I've alluded to before, when the parasympathetic (rest/digest) wing of our NS is in charge (engaged by relaxation in various forms), we live from our core self, from the calm, centered , clear-minded self. This gives us direct access to our inner wisdom, which is trying to guide us towards our best, most brilliant life.
Martha Beck writes: “Perpetually doing, without tuning in to the center of our being, is the equivalent of fueling a ship by tossing all its navigational equipment into its furnace. Fully occupied by the process of achieving innumerable goals, we lose the ability to determine which goals really matter, and why.” _If you want to live life guided by real inner wisdom, you will have to slow down regularly to allow your guidance to come forth._ You will need to make it a habit.
As I've written about in earlier articles, there are many quick methods of doing Nothing. Here is the third and final method in this series (see mental method here, a body-based method here) to restore and quiet down enough to really hear the wise voice inside.
EXPAND YOUR AWARENESS
Let your awareness shift into a restful state. The way we attend to our experience has everything to do with how stressfully or calmly we perceive it to be. Slip out of “Narrow Focus” and into a state of awareness called “Open Focus”. The simplest way to start learning this state is to expand your field of vision. Focus your eyes on something in front of you. Then, without moving your eyes, notice that you can also see the room in which it sits, the walls to either side, maybe even the ceiling and the floor. See everything in your visual field at once, giving it all equal importance. As you do so for a few minutes, notice your body soften and and your breath become relaxed and deep.
What is vitally important about this story is that I was too preoccupied with my work and my studies and my kids and my relationships with others, so busy going going going, that I was unable to relate clearly to MYSELF, to hear what my wise inner self was clearly telling me. This was one of the incidents that made me realize I needed to stop to chill, to consciously DO NOTHING more often, so that I could be attuned with the deeper truth of what I know is right for me, and those whose lives I touch.
After integrating into my life some of the short practices that I've shared with you over the course of these articles, as well as doing some deeper relaxation practices (which I love to teach about and offer in my classes and private sessions!), I have more trust in the guiding nudges that tell me when something is “off”. I have a clearer sense of what is important in my life. I can now spearhead my energy to those places, be fully present with my kids and partner, or with my work, rather than let my energy and attention ineffectively ooze out for the sake of just doing Something. I am now more in tune with my heart, and my wise and brilliant joyful-life navigational skills. And I don't work away for days oblivious to the dead man in my house...which has become a handy metaphor for me to stay centered and connected to myself by doing the Holy Nothing regularly.
May the same be true for you. If you want help with integrating any of this into your life, or want to dive deeper into any of it, please contact me to see how I can help by clicking here to learn more. And as a gift to you to invite your mind, body and spirit to take a powerful potent Holy Nothing break, here is a link to stream my free guided audio “Vitality Boost” . If you want to download it, please go to my website homepage here and enter your name and email address in the box marked " a Gift for You."
I love hearing from you! Please comment about your experience with these articles at the bottom of this page . And feel free to share this article with others! A revolution of rest, The Holy Nothing, will change the world!