Doing nothing is doing something

Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Not sure where the seals came from …

Some of us are so privileged that we can be told it is ok to do nothing. Further, we can be advised that doing nothing is good for our health. However, the scientist, rational thinker and contrarian in me hesitates with this advice. Not because it is unhelpful, but because it does not adequately explain why such benefits can accrue.

Simply, nothing is like infinite, perfect or perpetual, it is not our human reality. Doing nothing, like being, is doing something, hence this concept is an oxymoron. OK so I am being pedantic.

I guess my point is, instead of saying do nothing (from time-to-time, to be fair) to achieve well-being, please describe what is actually occurring at such times and why it can be beneficial. Instead I would choose to explain in other ways.

In societies so pent up on being active, productive, focused, connected, etc, sometimes we simply need a rest. To relax, to day-dream, to immerse ourselves in the present moment without any purpose, other than to be. Could be meditation in some people’s estimate. Might be playfully hanging out, engaging with nature and other sentient beings, with joyful and grateful demeanour. Maybe its just being, without judgement, without purpose, without disturbing anyone else.

Or perhaps it could be one of our most powerful behaviours, short in time but profound in its outcome. Fundamental to emotional intelligence. And in honour of a most significant man, and one of my favourite quotes, maybe its about the following:

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Victor Frankl

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