The Art of Being
Have you ever tried to do nothing?
Just existing, without any outcome in mind. A rare individual would say “yes”. Most of us are constantly doing something, with the intent of achieving something. If we are not doing something, we are either depressed or have rich parents willing to indulge our lethargy.
Yet, if you care to notice, the most vital functions of your life are happening on their own. Your breathing, your heart beating, your blood circulation to name a few. Thankfully you are not required to put them on your ‘To Do’ list. Else your procrastination would have killed you by now!
Similarly the sun rise, the seasons, ocean currents and the Earth rotating on its axis are all happening on their own. Fortunately the United Nations did not have to come together to pass a charter on these life giving natural phenomenon. Else each nation would still be fighting for their fair share of Sun!
Who is making all this happen?
Rather than inquire ‘who’ is making life happen, for which the answers could range from — God, Brahman, evolution, dark matter or Winnie the Pooh — why not ask…
“What is my relationship to what is Happening?”
Most of us are so preoccupied by running to work (oops! working from home), checking the mail or meeting deadlines that we have no time or inclination to step back from what we call ‘our life’ to notice Life itself. When was the last time you looked up at the sky? When was the last time you heard the birds chirping? When was the last time you tasted your food? When was the last time you noticed your breath?
Life is everywhere. Happening all the time. But our attention is consumed by our memories and imaginations. Our mind is constantly playing a reel of talking images like a virtual movie. And each of us are living as a dream character in a private mental universe of our own making.
“What is wrong with this?” you may ask “After all everyone is doing it.”
We have mistakenly assumed what is normal based on what the majority thinks or does. By those standards stress and anxiety should be normal. Excessive consumption, pornography and corrupt governance would also be normal.
We believe whatever our mind tells us. A mind that is shaped by social conditioning and past experiences. We live caged in our mind. Our life is a series of thoughts. And our effort is to win this mental game by reaching the goal post of our desires.
Until our dream world doesn’t become a nightmare we continue pursuing the phantom of our fantasies. Our desires eventually tie us up in knots. Disillusion us. Assault us. Enslave us. Then we are desperate to find a way out of this mental world, before it makes us truly mental.
Psychiatrists label our condition and prescribe medicines. Counsellors listen to us for an hourly fee. Yoga teachers instruct us on how to breathe correctly. All of this helps to settle our mind, but only temporarily. Cause we have not addressed the core of our problem.
Our alienation with the Universe.
Our relationship with what is Happening.
We are using what is happening. We are resisting what is happening. We are enjoying what is happening. We are avoiding what is happening. We are controlling what is happening. We are suspicious of what is happening. We are approving of what is happening. We want to know what is happening. We are trying to make things happen. But...
We are not One with what is Happening.
Can you for a few moments drop all effort. To do, to want, to become, to defend, to promote, to strategize, to control, to avoid…to do anything.
Notice… Your existence. Your breath. Your sensations. Your energy. Your life. It is simple. It requires you to go nowhere or become anything. All you need to do is Do Nothing. And when you do a good job at doing nothing. You will notice something remarkable happen. ‘You’ disappear.
There is only the Happening.
Breathing. Sensations. Energy. Life.
It is not yours. It is part of the Universal happening. In fact it is not even a part of the Universe. It is the Universe. The dream character called ‘you’ has stepped out of his mental world and disappeared.
Now there is only the Universe. The Universe is Now.
Now there is Silence. You can hear the sounds around you but the mental noise has disappeared. Now there is Space. You can see the objects around you but the mental images have vanished. Now there is Existence.
“But how will becoming One with Existence help me? And how long can I be Existence? Will it help to pay my bills?” you ask.
The mind has come back. The dream world has come back. ‘You’ have come back.
The Universe has no answers to your questions. Its language is Silence. It has no explanations for your confusion. It moves through intuition. But the invitation is always open. To Do Nothing. And become One with what is Happening. And if you do it often enough, maybe one day you will develop a taste for Existence.
Until then the Universe waits for its prodigal daughter to return Home.