The following questions were asked to me by a staff writer at Well and Good NYC, an online wellness magazine, about the importance of doing nothing. And here are my full responses.
Do you think that it’s important, once in a while, to take time to truly stop going and just do nothing?
Sitting down and doing nothing for a little while each day is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
Since vacations/traveling can be stressful, yoga/working (and even meditation!) still takes effort, is there a benefit to just sitting down and staring out the window once in a while?
Sitting down and doing nothing is the first step towards taking control of your mind, body and emotions. When we sit down and do nothing we are training our body that it does not have to be in movement all the time. When we discipline the body we start to discipline the mind. And when we start to discipline the mind we start to discipline the emotions. Very soon we are in charge of our mind, body and emotions as oppose to having them run us rampant through the day till we are frazzled and stressed.
It’s not only important to do this once in a while but rather make it a habit – a consistent practice that can be sustained. When people ask me for a meditation practice they can do, I often recommend for them to start with 5 minutes each morning where they sit down and do nothing. If they can do this for a month then I’ll teach them how to meditate. Believe it or not some people can only do this for a few days before they feel they are not accomplishing anything and make themselves get up and be busy again.
Meditation is the subsequent next step to sitting down and doing nothing as it is the process of bringing our mind and emotions under the dominion of our will once the body is quieten.
How can frazzled New Yorkers make the time to do it?
Frazzled New Yorkers can make time to do it the same way they make time to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, etc. You have to make it a priority in your life. Taking time out to look after ourselves is not a fad it is a necessity.
If you feel you don’t have 5 minutes a day to spare for this then pull out last month’s cell phone bill and see how many minutes you spent on the phone talking to someone else. Surely, if you can commit that much time to others in a month you are worth at least 5 minutes a day to yourself. And the best time to do it is first thing in the morning before life starts to take hold of you.
So, make an appointment with yourself each day to simply do nothing.