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Choosing to do nothing-is it an action?


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#1    Beany

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 04:33 PM

I'm tired of all the negativity & rants, so thought I'd introduce something more positive. Every January I adopt a practice for the year. This year my practice is, and this is so unlike me, essentially, passivity. I'm not praying for what I want, and have to work hard sometimes at not wanting anything but what I already have. Which is more than many people, so I guess gratitude is part of the practice.

It occurred to me one day that maybe I was so focused on what was straight ahead of me, and on what I wanted that I might be missing important stuff that's outside my range of focus. And that maybe I was so self-directed that I wasn't leaving any room to partner, so to speak, with a greater energy. So I decided to back off, be still, and pay attention. So far it's worked pretty well. There were a couple of problems I'd be attempting to unsuccessfully resolve over a couple of months. When I decided not to have THE TALK, not to intervene, both issues resolved themselves very nicely, much to my surprise. I'm thinking this is something close to moving out of resistance to what is, and notice that when I move out of resistance, I'm much happier. Maybe it's just the resistance itself that causes unhappiness, not the circumstances, I don't know. Anyway, I'd love to hear what you think about this, especially if you have something uplifting or instructive to say.

Edited by Beany, 20 April 2013 - 04:34 PM.


#2    ouija ouija

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 05:33 PM

I am also trying to remind myself many times a day to stop focussing on what I think is missing from my life and all the things that I think need changing, and trying to concentrate on and appreciate what I've actually got ...... right here, right now.

Life is all too much ............................................. and not enough.

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#3    StarMountainKid

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 05:48 PM

Quote

One of Taoism’s most important concepts is wu wei, which is sometimes translated as “non-doing” or “non-action.” A better way to think of it, however, is as a paradoxical “Action of non-action.” Wu wei refers to the cultivation of a state of being in which our actions are quite effortlessly in alignment with the ebb and flow of the elemental cycles of the natural world. It is a kind of “going with the flow” that is characterized by great ease and awake-ness, in which - without even trying - we’re able to respond perfectly to whatever situations arise.
http://taoism.about....wei/a/wuwei.htm

I find this kind of "non-action" a very positive aspect in my life. I watch others running around, sweating, interfering, forcing things to happen, and it all seems to me profitless and wasted effort that never succeeds to their satisfaction. All they're doing is wearing themselves out physically and mentally.

For me, a better way is to leave it all alone and be alert to what is going on. From this perspective one can calmly perceive events with great clarity and respond in a more beneficial manner without muddying the waters even more.

Instead of trying to make things happen, it is better to allow events to unfold as they will, then be creative within these events so as to promote an understanding that does not cause more conflict.

Sitting quietly, doing nothing,
Spring comes and the grass grows by itself

We can't make the grass grow. When we try to impose our will, this kind of willful action only causes conflict without and within ourselves.

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#4    pallidin

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 06:01 PM

This is probably going to sound a little weird, but I believe that "non-action" can in fact be a form of action in many cases.

For example, internally resisting the overwhelming desire to beat someone to a pulp who's acting in a threatening or idiotic manner, knowing somehow that you are fully capable of doing so, yet restraining from further violence.

Maybe a bad example, but my point is that, for some, it takes "actionable restraint" within themselves to not engage in further conflict.

I don't know. Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about.


#5    Beany

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 06:51 PM

View Postouija ouija, on 20 April 2013 - 05:33 PM, said:

I am also trying to remind myself many times a day to stop focussing on what I think is missing from my life and all the things that I think need changing, and trying to concentrate on and appreciate what I've actually got ...... right here, right now.

Yes, staying in the moment and being grateful for what we have. I'm thinking if we pray to whoever for what we want, maybe that's a round-about way of saying our lives would be perfect only if we had .....


#6    Beany

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 06:53 PM

View Postpallidin, on 20 April 2013 - 06:01 PM, said:

This is probably going to sound a little weird, but I believe that "non-action" can in fact be a form of action in many cases. For example, internally resisting the overwhelming desire to beat someone to a pulp who's acting in a threatening or idiotic manner, knowing somehow that you are fully capable of doing so, yet restraining from further violence. Maybe a bad example, but my point is that, for some, it takes "actionable restraint" within themselves to not engage in further conflict. I don't know. Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about.

It sounds like you DO know what you're talking about. I like the idea of "actionable restraint", and seeing where that takes us.


#7    Beany

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 06:59 PM

View PostStarMountainKid, on 20 April 2013 - 05:48 PM, said:

http://taoism.about....wei/a/wuwei.htm I find this kind of "non-action" a very positive aspect in my life. I watch others running around, sweating, interfering, forcing things to happen, and it all seems to me profitless and wasted effort that never succeeds to their satisfaction. All they're doing is wearing themselves out physically and mentally. For me, a better way is to leave it all alone and be alert to what is going on. From this perspective one can calmly perceive events with great clarity and respond in a more beneficial manner without muddying the waters even more. Instead of trying to make things happen, it is better to allow events to unfold as they will, then be creative within these events so as to promote an understanding that does not cause more conflict. Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes and the grass grows by itself We can't make the grass grow. When we try to impose our will, this kind of willful action only causes conflict without and within ourselves.

I love the concept of being in the ebb and flow of the cycles of the natural world. I've been thinking about whether the natural world IS what Christians refer to as God, instead of just a part of or an aspect of God. For years I thought of God or spirit containing the natural world, but I'm starting to think about whether it's the other way around, the God is contained within the natural world. Does that sound too weird? I don't really know just exactly what goes on outside of myself, whether there's a god, spirit, the divine, some immanent luminescence, and my thoughts about it are constantly changing, and I hope, evolving. Anyway, I'm often in admiration of it, whatever it is.


#8    shrooma

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 10:09 PM

i quite like the idea that you've just given me a license to be lazy!
i can now sit around doing absolutely bugger all, guilt-free, comfortable in the knowledge that i'm actually being very productive, doing the maximum amount of nothing that i can!!
take THAT, all you teachers who said i'd never do anything with my life!
:-)

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#9    Beany

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 11:09 PM

View Postshrooma, on 20 April 2013 - 10:09 PM, said:

i quite like the idea that you've just given me a license to be lazy!
i can now sit around doing absolutely bugger all, guilt-free, comfortable in the knowledge that i'm actually being very productive, doing the maximum amount of nothing that i can!!
take THAT, all you teachers who said i'd never do anything with my life!
:-)

I've never needed a license, I'm self-certified!


#10    The Id3al Experience

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 11:21 PM

View Postshrooma, on 20 April 2013 - 10:09 PM, said:

i quite like the idea that you've just given me a license to be lazy!
i can now sit around doing absolutely bugger all, guilt-free, comfortable in the knowledge that i'm actually being very productive, doing the maximum amount of nothing that i can!!
take THAT, all you teachers who said i'd never do anything with my life!
:-)

I remember when my teacher said that I would equate to nothing... I laughted and said, can you do nothing.... She yelled back at me saying - No because she has goals, places shes wanted to be... I then said.... Sooooo your saying you can't do nothing. She agreed, I said see it takes a special type of person to do nothing....She never said anything to me again.... LOL - although i was being a smart as/s back then.... thinking about it now... it makes perfect sence lol

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#11    Beany

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 02:52 AM

Well, my kind of doing nothing is moving out of resistance to what is, then waiting to see what develops, whether I actually need to put on my cape & tights and wonder woman tiara, and DO something. So far, I'm seeing a propensity for things working themselves out without my interference, which actually kind of gob-smacks me. I'm reserving the right to action, but I'm not jumping right into anything, either. The most stressful part is staying out of resistance to what is. And believe me, I am being frequently tested.


#12    Sherapy

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:49 PM

View PostBeany, on 20 April 2013 - 04:33 PM, said:

I'm tired of all the negativity & rants, so thought I'd introduce something more positive. Every January I adopt a practice for the year. This year my practice is, and this is so unlike me, essentially, passivity. I'm not praying for what I want, and have to work hard sometimes at not wanting anything but what I already have. Which is more than many people, so I guess gratitude is part of the practice.

It occurred to me one day that maybe I was so focused on what was straight ahead of me, and on what I wanted that I might be missing important stuff that's outside my range of focus. And that maybe I was so self-directed that I wasn't leaving any room to partner, so to speak, with a greater energy. So I decided to back off, be still, and pay attention. So far it's worked pretty well. There were a couple of problems I'd be attempting to unsuccessfully resolve over a couple of months. When I decided not to have THE TALK, not to intervene, both issues resolved themselves very nicely, much to my surprise. I'm thinking this is something close to moving out of resistance to what is, and notice that when I move out of resistance, I'm much happier. Maybe it's just the resistance itself that causes unhappiness, not the circumstances, I don't know. Anyway, I'd love to hear what you think about this, especially if you have something uplifting or instructive to say.
This post touches me profoundly. Letting go of control or the need to do something or be a certain way has been a hurdle for me; a hurdle I have just recently let go of. I think there is a lot to be said for showing up to the moment as it is, without attachments and expectations,without fears and negativity. I recently put this to the test myself when my middle son was in a very serious bike accident. I couldn't do anything but wait for him to recover in ICU and it was in the waiting and staying centered on the reality of now, I got through a harrowing life altering circumstance with very little hardship and interestingly came away came away wiser for it.




#13    Midyin

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:28 AM

Choosing to do nothing is not only an action, but it's the worst action a person can do(or not do)...

If you see a guy trying to kidnap a little girl I would like to think anyone worth a crap would step up and do something..


#14    AsteroidX

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:14 AM

Pic your Battles comes to mind


#15    Jessica Christ

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:16 AM

View PostThe Id3al Experience, on 21 April 2013 - 11:21 PM, said:



I remember when my teacher said that I would equate to nothing... I laughted and said, can you do nothing.... She yelled back at me saying - No because she has goals, places shes wanted to be... I then said.... Sooooo your saying you can't do nothing. She agreed, I said see it takes a special type of person to do nothing....She never said anything to me again.... LOL - although i was being a smart as/s back then.... thinking about it now... it makes perfect sence lol

Our schools traditionally have focused on intelligence while neglecting creativity, measuring one but not the other, encouraging a script filled with plans and goals but discouraging independent thought and exploration.

This is changing and that is favorable.

At times doing nothing is part of the process of creation. Sometimes in order to create we have to suspend intention. Other times we have to get out of the way and let the grass grow on its own.

Mindfulness could be an exercise that allows us to strengthen our ability to discerb whether action or non-action is necessary.

Of course as the poster above noted sometimes non-action is a form of passive-agression.





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