Your ego's fear of doing nothing
Do you feel comfortable doing nothing? Just sitting around and being here? No phone, no books, no one to talk to and nothing to do?
If I’m honest, I know I wasn’t. I spent many years of my life being extremely goal-orientated, constantly working from to-do lists and filling every minute of my calendar with “something to do”. If I ever had a free moment, I would quickly fill it with something, anything, usually some form of digital content, YouTube or social media.
Why is this so?
When we stop, when we have nothing to do, we are forced to face the truth of who and what we really are. We are forced to reflect and feel life, feel what’s true. All our beliefs, all our concerns, all our issues with life bubble to the surface and demand attention.
Obviously, this can be very uncomfortable. It brings to focus our deepest fears and concerns, highlighting the transparency and limitations of our ego, our identity. We believe we are our thoughts, our beliefs, our actions. Our very sense of self exists in being the actor, the doer of tasks, the thinker of thoughts. When "doing" stops, a small part of who we think we are stops. It’s a death of sorts that can be scary as hell to the mind and the illusory self. Your ego has a legitimate fear of doing nothing. In doing nothing, in pure being, there is no ego to be found.
When we stop, when we have nothing to do, we are forced to face the truth of who and what we really are.
What’s interesting though is that there is no actual death. It’s just the death of a repetitive thought pattern, the thought of “me and my story”. When we finally face this fear, we are still here when doing stops. Feeling our being, life continues on, unaffected by the removal of our personal will, action and doing, and great relaxation and freedom is encountered—perhaps for the first time in one's adult life.
This encounter can be a truly transformational moment, where present life is felt totally and embraced wholeheartedly. For a moment, deep peace and contentment are your natural state. However, due to one's conditioning and the associated fear, it’s an encounter that can subconsciously be avoided for an entire lifetime.
How can one get a taste of this?
Notice how we constantly fill our days with doing. Checking our phones, moving about, thinking of past and future circumstances.
Sit down somewhere and relax, try doing nothing and explore what comes up. The desire to do this or that, to check your email, to Google this, to watch this show, to mentally plan and problem solve, to do anything.
Try to feel the subtle energy of discomfort motivating this distraction from doing nothing. Don’t try to work it out, fix it or push it away—just feel it, welcome it, let it show itself to you.
Continue playing with this regularly and see what happens.
As you continue to experiment with this, a new freedom may be encountered. You'll come to welcome this moment as it is and thoroughly enjoy just being here and now. This is a taste of true and unconditional peace and happiness.
No matter where you are or what you are doing, this bliss is available to you. Action still happens, things get done when they need to be done, but it comes from a place of contentment, freedom and playfulness. You do things spontaneously, for the joy of it, not as an effort to avoid being with yourself and facing what you truly are.
Take a look and see.
If this speaks to you in some way, if you have noticed your fear of stopping, your fear of doing nothing, you are welcome to explore this further and receive guidance from Jay in our free yoga and meditation classes, or one-on-one sessions.