Many times throughout our lives we have made goals, planned, prepared, spent time, energy, money and put thought into some really great ideas only to have the whole thing fall apart or come up short. Why on earth does this happen? Why doesn't life ask us what we really want and assist us with achieving those goals and plans, while meeting all of our expectations? Why? Why? Why? Here is why. Life is not "expected" to turn out how we plan it and life will never ask us what "we want" because the truth is that our own expectations and beliefs of life blind us, bind us, and will always disappoint us.
We must have the goal and plan to move forward doing the best that we can, without a lot of expectations, time to rest the mind and start learning life through the art of doing nothing. True happiness and pure peace is located in the present moments of our lives, not the past, nor in the future and many miss out on the present moment because we are too busy trying to accomplish so much for a successful future or not think about our past. In Costa Rica, there is a greeting that is often heard and referenced by the people there called, "Pura Vida" which in English is translated to living a "pure life" or "simple life" and is more than just a phrase, it is a way of life there. The power and peace of the present moment is achieved by embracing, learning, and doing 'nothing' at all with a mindset of moving away from of so many daily goals, plans, and being so busy trying to accomplish them all.
"Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself." -Zen Proverb
Having goals, making plans, staying busy to accomplish them all on a daily basis is always discussed, philosophized, and applied in societal standards and how we fit into those guidelines for life. Having goals and plans can be helpful and will help with becoming more successful in our lives (whatever success looks like that is?), climbing the career ladder, losing weight, getting healthier, writing a book, or taking that next trip with a feeling and sense of completion and achievement, but what about the discussion on doing nothing at all?
What if we can accomplish much of the same thing without doing anything and learn from the experience? Is that ok? Is that even allowed these days? We can't do that! Rob Bell says that "Busy is a drug that a lot of people are addicted to," and the trouble with goals, plans and staying busy in today's society is that being so busy to complete everything we set out for our lives can actually be limiting and take away from our desires, our purpose and our passions.
As children we are conditioned, instructed, and taught to always be "doing something" and complete goals, plans, and by staying busy we have an opportunity to bring happiness and success to our lives. Doing 'nothing' is viewed from an early leaned behavior, belief system, or 'Capitalism,' that we will never be successful or accomplish our goals and plans by doing 'nothing' and is an unconventional way of thinking in today's busy society. No wonder the mind is always busy and "on-the-go" wanting to complete something or making noise in our daily lives in order to avoid the thought of doing nothing. In Italy there is a saying "Dolce Far Niente" which literally translates to "the sweet, or beautiful (act of) doing nothing or carefree idleness."
With a blank canvas representing our lives, let the 'art' of 'doing nothing' become the brush strokes and landscapes of our masterpiece. Embrace, welcome, and become really good at 'doing nothing' for it is in this space we truly learn to live because we have finally let go. No longer focused on the past, the future, with full acknowledgement, surrender, and vulnerability to the present moment the art of 'doing nothing' becomes a breath of fresh air filled with purpose, passion, being, or as Ram Das reminds us, "When you do nothing. Are nothing. Have nothing. Expect nothing. Are nowhere. That is when the real transformation begins."
Learning to master the skill of 'doing nothing' in a frenetic, fast-paced, overwhelmed, chaotic and always-connected culture might be the best, most vital skill needed to complete those goals and plans of life. If we tune into our needs, desires, and dreams and allow the space of 'doing nothing' into the present moment of our lives on a daily basis, the river of life flows that much smoother, calmer and offers a lot of joy, happiness, peace, and personal success which should be a 'plan' and 'goal' we all strive for.
"It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?"-Henry David Thoreau
Marc Lainhart is an international and tested Spiritual Psychic-Medium. Marc serves as a Radio Show Host, Hiking Guide, Certified Diver, Metaphysical Teacher, and Inspirational writer in Spirituality. Marc uses his gifts, experiences, and past tragedies to help guide, inspire, and teach others for their own personal ‘Soul Adventure.’ For more spiritual prospecting, please visit MarcLainhart.com, or catch Marc’s live radio show, Inspired Living every Wednesday on OM Times Radio.