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Beany

Choosing to do nothing-is it an action?

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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
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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.

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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.com/od/wuwei/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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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.

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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 .....

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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.

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http://taoism.about.com/od/wuwei/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.

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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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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!

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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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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.

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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.

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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..

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Pic your Battles comes to mind

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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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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.

Of course anyone would intervene in such a situation. I think the idea is that the guy trying to kidnap the little girl is not practicing the action of non-action. There are people who are always stirring up trouble, sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong, themselves in trouble all the time, thinking of ways to manipulate others, imposing their will, arguing, complicating existing situations that are already complicated enough, etc.

This kind of action always creates a negative result. Oftentimes it is better to do nothing and allow a situation to play out as it will when action will only make the situation worse or prolong a conflict. Dealing with events with calm understanding oftentimes is a better method than using some opposing action that will not be as helpful in resolving a situation.

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I think it's a wonderful idea. A state of observation and gratitude is a wonderful way to live. I couldn't do it totally myself, I'm to opinionated and I like to act and get my hands dirty, but many many times I have held back involving myself in something only to realize that my involvement would have been a complete mistake. It makes me wonder how many things would resolve themselves if I just let it be.

One of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar

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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.

That's because creativity can't easily be objectively measured. I wrote lots of great stuff in English classes. Or I thought it was great, however some instructors didn't like it so I got plenty of average grades.

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Being challenged this week at work. I want to step up & intervene, say my piece, but I remind myself every 5 minutes to chill. In AA they say "turn it over to a higher power", I'm not sure there's a higher power, but I'm going to turn it over and see what, if anything, happens without my intervention.

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Sorry to take so long to post but I’ve been really busy redesigning my garden. It’s nice to see threads like this on UM Beany.

‘Choosing to do nothing’ this is very much like the Chinese saying Wu Wei as many have posted. If you ‘choose’, it becomes an action. There are many translations of this saying, the most common is ‘Not Doing’ but this is not very clear to those who do not practice meditation, for them it is mistaken for passivity. In fact, it refers to ‘Spontaneous and Effortless Action’.

TTC 15 “Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?

Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?

The Master doesn't seek fulfillment. Not seeking, not expecting, she is present, and can welcome all things”.

To try to understand it with the analytical mind leads to confusion, it should be looked at from a spiritual point of view. Wu Wei is action without desire, motivation or intention or just ‘being natural’ in any situation. This is best developed through meditation or ’No Mind’ yet again a misunderstood saying, many people think it means being almost dumb or stupid. ‘Wu Wei’ has also been translated as "creative quietude," or the art of ’letting-be’, as Seeker posted. Meditation is the foundation on which Wu Wei is built, to be ‘in tune with nature’ as Star Mountain posted all very good points.

TTC23 “Open yourself to the Tao, then trust your natural responses; and everything will fall into place”.

Choosing to follow any rule is not Wu Wei this is how religions come about, it is a common failing, we are brought up to use the intellect but the illusive natural state of being cannot be achieved through thought . It is something all humans can experience in fact it is the missing piece in the modern world, one should meditate everyday learning to focus the mind/thoughts so that spontaneous actions just happen without effort.

TTC 35. She who is centered in the Tao can go where she wishes, without danger.

She perceives the universal harmony, even amid great pain, because she has found peace in her heart.

Music or the smell of good cooking may make people stop and enjoy. But words that point to the Tao seem monotonous and without flavor. When you look for it, there is nothing to see.

When you listen for it, there is nothing to hear. When you use it, it is inexhaustible.

TTC54. “Let the Tao be present in your life and you will become genuine. Let it be present in your family and your family will flourish.

Let it be present in your country and your country will be an example to all countries in the world. Let it be present in the universe

and the universe will sing. How do I know this is true? By looking inside myself”. take care.

‘The fish are thirsty in the water when I hear this it makes me laugh’ Kabir

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Thanks for the post, Sutemi & everyone else. It's been helpful to my understanding of what I'm trying to do. I've found it's very difficult at times to remain unmoving and let the right action reveal itself, my mind/ego always wants to pitch in and help. And why not, since there are times when it's been very helpful. I guess this "doing nothing" fits really well with my practice of last year, which was to believe in nothing that I didn't know to be true for myself. It seems once I cleared that field down to a handful of basics, it left a lot of room for other ideas & concepts to blossom. It's funny, I spent a lot of time reading & studying metaphysics, and filled my head up, and now it seems I'm emptying it. Where I'm at right now is at odds with a lot of my friends, so it's comforting that I have somewhere to turn to talk about these ideas without someone trying to persuade me I'm wrong. I don't need to be right, but I would like to talk about it objectively.

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Doing nothing is inaction, and however wrong it might be at times for us to NOT act, we cannot sit here and say that not acting is acting, that is an oxymoron.

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Doing nothing is inaction, and however wrong it might be at times for us to NOT act, we cannot sit here and say that not acting is acting, that is an oxymoron.

In my view non-action is different than inaction or doing nothing. Non-action is the conserving of energy by not wasting action where it doesn't belong or using our energy in superfluous ways. I think it relates to conserving one's effort until the moment requires action.

In this sense action is without effort and spontaneous. "When there is nothing to do, do nothing." This is also a kind of action, just being quietly and alertly aware. It's kind of paradox. All sound arises from silence, as all action arises from non-action. There is a difference between sound and noise, as there is a difference between this kind of action and just business.

When we are always busy busy busy, action arising from our true self has no space to develop, and our activity becomes an imitation of the activity around us. What we do is who we are. If we pretend to be everyone else, who are we?

Ok, I'm done. :)

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In my view non-action is different than inaction or doing nothing. Non-action is the conserving of energy by not wasting action where it doesn't belong or using our energy in superfluous ways. I think it relates to conserving one's effort until the moment requires action.

In this sense action is without effort and spontaneous. "When there is nothing to do, do nothing." This is also a kind of action, just being quietly and alertly aware. It's kind of paradox. All sound arises from silence, as all action arises from non-action. There is a difference between sound and noise, as there is a difference between this kind of action and just business.

When we are always busy busy busy, action arising from our true self has no space to develop, and our activity becomes an imitation of the activity around us. What we do is who we are. If we pretend to be everyone else, who are we?

Ok, I'm done. :)

inaction  

Main Entry: inaction  [in-ak-shuhn] Show IPA

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: state of doing nothing

Synonyms: acedia, deferral, deliquescence, depression, doldrums, dormancy, ennui, fecklessness, idleness, inactivity, indolence, inertia, inertness, lassitude, lethargy, otiosity, passivity, quiescence, quietude, slothfulness, stagnation, stasis, suspension, torpidity, torpor

Antonyms: action

http://thesaurus.com/browse/inaction?s=t

Your opinion vs my fact.

I think my fact wins.. :P

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Now since a person can not by defintion do nothing for they could have to cease to excist.

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