Last week, I got a brutal stomach bug. The symptoms were intense but lasted only an afternoon and evening. However, it wiped me out so thoroughly that for the next three days all I could do was lie in bed eating ice chips. Even after I was sort of upright again, doing the simplest things wore me out.
When I finally returned to martial arts class, my teacher told me to take it easy and just do what I could. After sitting down for a few minutes, I joined the class in a standing meditation. As soon as I got myself properly aligned and relaxed into the posture, energy bubbled up inside me and blossomed like a flower. It was like I had a low battery and someone had plugged me into the charger. By the time the meditation ended I felt as close to normal as I had in days.
Later I told the teacher what had happened. “Sometimes doing nothing in the right way is the best thing,” he replied.
That is a pretty amazing statement, especially in our “do, do more, do better” culture. It made me think about other times when doing nothing in the right way is the best thing. Like when a friend needs me to listen, just listen, without offering advice or trying to fix things. Or when someone is rude or trying to pick a fight. Or when a child needs to learn about consequences and how to solve a problem independently.
My body taught me that pushing through, soldering on, or forcing is not always what is called for. Aligning myself in stillness allowed the energy to expand and move freely. I felt refreshed and renewed.
Can you think of some other examples where doing nothing in the right way is the best thing?
Don’t just do something. Sit there! ~Sylvia Boorstein