Sunday morning in Hanoi

Good morning. Yesterday was a rainy day so I found a nice pho place and then a Vietnamese coffee shop. I ended up eating fast food for some meal and then had a sandwich after beers. Now I sit at Toms Coffee for breakfast. They serve an eclectic mix of foods so wanted the pancakes and fresh fruit sides. There’s not a thing that needs doing today. Beautiful! Tonight will try Mexican food down the street and perhaps a margarita there.

I do this meditation class every day on the Calm app and I wanted to discuss today’s topic and class.

do nothing at all class

There are many ways to find a path or lack of one in meditation I have found. The basic idea is to find a thing like breathing or some sound or thing and you focus in on it. If thoughts arrive or feelings or whatever you acknowledge them even with gratitude and let them go. You never get mad or sad or upset. It’s a muscle you are exercising.

Then there’s the do nothing approach. No focus on breath or anything else. How to decide which one? Why not do both? Doing nothing may trigger guilt or frustrations. Focusing on a thing may let you return to the thing after a neighbor says something or a bird sings or a thought erupts. None of it matters though. You live it and do it. Thoughts and all. Then we come to the do nothing meditation practice. And why not I wonder? We all need the moments to focus on a thing but also to let go. American society and culture teaches one and not the other. Case in point. It took me months basically to detach from the “always do something” approach in IT. Milestones and tasks and plans. They all lead us to do something and then we maybe celebrate the end but often we are already moving on to the next big thing.

When I finally slowed down one day at a Starbucks in Japan, I realized do nothing had arrived. We need it though. Some of us desperately. Unfortunately our culture and schools and careers tell us it’s a sign of sloth and laziness. Even in retirement I would see the ads to get busy in retirement. My question,

why the F would I do that?

It’s because we are schooled to accomplish, to succeed, to define, to reach farther and higher.

So instead I say no. Hell no. We may succeed and accomplish ourselves to a retirement where we just sit wondering what to do next. I found the answer in the edge. It’s nothing. Consider it. Call it down time. Or me time. How much do you have?

Meditation taught me we need both. We need the focus on the breath because it gives us an anchor. Boats are not meant to just be at anchor though and neither are we. Set yourself free part of the time. Find the elusive trail to nowhere. It’s why I picked up the companion piece of gentle yoga every day. I have no place to go and yoga shows me a slow trail to it.

the end or beginning

Yes. To both. Take as you will. Saddle yourself with less. There is more in it.