Slow Down to Speed Up
In stillness the world is restored. - Lao Tzu
It's called the rat race for good reason. Life can feel like a treadmill. And the strange thing is that sometimes it can feel like you're doing more and more, but achieving less and less. We're busy all the time. But we're busy doing the little tasks that keep us ticking over, not stopping to ponder the big picture.
There's a Zen saying. If you have a glass of dirty water, the best way to clear it is to set it on a windowsill for a week without touching it. In stillness, all of the dirt settles itself to the bottom. It's the same principle with your soul. You need that quiet time to separate the sound and fury of the outside world from your inner thoughts. Meditation can be a useful technique to help you to still the mind and settle your thoughts.
In the context of a meditative way of life, doing nothing can be experienced as the non-movement of sitting meditation, as a form of mental surrender, as effortless performance, intuitive action, open receptivity to constantly changing circumstances or at its peak as an experience of immanent completeness without anything to be done and nothing to be sought after.
During formal sitting meditation, doing nothing with your thoughts is the main component of a powerful technique at the core of Buddhist practice. Tranquility meditation involves detachment from thoughts, not following thoughts. Just letting thoughts be, the skill of doing nothing with thoughts and being able to rest naturally. Zazen,' the core Zen Meditation practice, literally means 'just sitting,' which is pretty close to just doing nothing.
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche explains how doing nothing during meditation can heal and purify our minds:
Meditation is one of the rare occasions when we're not doing anything. Otherwise, we're always doing something, we're always thinking something, we're always occupied. We get lost in millions of obsessions and fixations. But by meditating -- by not doing anything -- all these fixations are revealed and our obsessions will naturally undo themselves like a snake uncoiling itself. - Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Find time to be still and see what blossoms in your life.
Remember, you can move forward in your life by thinking and feeling too, not just doing. With a clear vision and a sense of direction, you can focus your energy more effectively, be more productive and make better decisions.
The great paradox is that you will get to where you are going faster. You literally need to slow down to speed up!
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