Being and Doing

After a long period in a hyper-masculine state of go, go, go, do, do, do, I find myself in  an open void of what feels like complete nothingness. Like a rocket that’s been violently thrusting its way up against the atmosphere and the gravitational pull of the earth and finally breaks through the stratosphere into the vast stillness of outer space.

I’m in outer space right now. Except it’s inner space.

All the doing I’m so very fond of has given way to simple being. I’m whiling away every free moment doing pretty much nothing. No thing. It feels rather delicious, rebellious even, to simply lie on the couch, not reading, not sleeping, just being. Ahh vast inner space, I’ve missed you.

I used to fret during these periods where I found myself withdrawing from action and being unproductive. I’d fear i was wasting time. Now I appreciate that being is the other side of the coin to doing. It’s a crucial part of the cycle. There’s no day without night and no light without darkness.

This period of ‘chill’ is just as important to my overall capacity to move forwards in life and create the awesome things I’d like to create as the periods of activity. A field that’s allowed to lie fallow is ultimately more fertile and more productive the next time seeds are planted.

I’m lying fallow right now.  

This is a skill I’ve developed. To know when enough is enough and when action is no longer helpful. When resting in stillness is actually the most productive thing you can do.

All my ‘go-getter’ self-development books have fallen by the wayside. The thought of reading anything ‘productive’ makes me feel a bit queasy. At some point we need a total break. There’s a certain intellectual materialism around devouring knowledge through books. We to pause.. How can we ever see what’s inside ourselves if we’re always consuming, bringing the external internally?  What about bringing the internal externally?

These periods of lying fallow are vital to tapping into our own creativity.

Be still and curious, see what arises.

I listened to a podcast with an author, Karan Bajaj, who works for four years as an engineer and then takes a sabbatical year.  Fours years on, one year off. He repeats this cycle. His sabbatical year is a year to step out of routine and do nothing. He sets no goals or expectations for this time, it’s a year to simply be and see what happens.  What he’s found is that by doing nothing he allows his creativity to really flow. He’s written best-selling novels in these sabbatical years, even though that was never a goal or intention.

This is resonating with me so much right now. I know from my own experience how powerful it can be to surrender into a more receptive state of being. Sometimes when we’re not trying to bash away at something, not trying to actively produce something from our logical, linear, egoic mind, we open ourselves up to something deeper. Inspiration. Spiirt. Grace. Magic. Call it what you will.  I’ve definitely found that in the nothingness there is space and clarity, and in that space, without any forcing or probing,  unexpected insights and ideas arise.

There’s a certain trust involved in holding this space. In refraining from busywork for awhile and simply waiting.  Trust it.

If you’re not ready to abandon all doing for weeks simply add some being into your day. A 20-minute savasana can do the trick.

 

Author: Sam Vale Noya

Yoga instructor currently living and teaching in Reading, UK.