The Art of Doing Nothing


“I used to have a son who sat around doing nothing, but then he took up meditation.”

It’s a rather feeble new Age joke, but, the idea of doing nothing sounds rather shocking, yet doing nothing can be one of the most rewarding things. Here doing nothing doesn’t mean loafing away, idly passing time. Doing nothing means the willingness to switch off from external distractions and worries. It means being happy to be in our present surroundings and at peace with ourself.

Time to Yourself

We spend time looking after our family, commuting to work; we work 8 hours a day for a boss. Why do we find it so difficult to spend 15 – 20 minutes to ourselves?

Don’t Be Afraid of Silence

We have become afraid of our own selves, and afraid of silence. We have become accustomed to absorbing ourselves in external distractions, often looking at a screen. Because, we never spend time with ourselves we become frightened of what we might find. Real silence is relaxing and reinvigorating. We need to learn to be at peace with ourselves. We must avoid the temptation to start judging ourselves and other people but, just be in peace.

Less is More

We often have a feeling that we need to try and control everything. We need to change others behaviour, we need to change ourselves, we need to change the world. We expend alot of energy ruminating over the failings of others and what they ought to do. Often this is just on a mental level. Our thoughts are filled with what other people should do and why they are bad. But, in many cases we would be better off for minding our own business. There are many things that we are not responsible for, especially when it comes to changing other people. We can inspire them and lead by example, but, sometimes we need to allow people to make their own choices and follow their own path. In that area we should be happy to do nothing. We can offer people our good will, but, we should not feel responsible for their mistakes.

Doing Nothing with a Purpose

We are doing nothing when we surf through the internet, watch some daytime cooking programme or check our email for a record 16th time in the past two hours. We can be in the vortex of activity but achieve nothing meaningful. The problem is we rush into activity without any preparation or thought. The art of doing nothing involves gaining an inner preparation, a mental stillness and cultivating an inner peace which gives meaning to our outer life. Meditation is the active cultivation of this inner silence and inner peace. It is the best way to gain a meaningful inner peace.


We can also just be more aware of the simplicity of life and nature. We can rush through the most beautiful scenery in the world, but, if we are absorbed in something else, it will be of no benefit. If we pursue simplicity and awareness we will appreciate many simple things alot more.

Don’t Be Defensive

It is not nice being criticised either directly or implicitly, but sometimes we worry too much and become very defensive. Learning to pay no heed of misinformed criticism can be a real boon for us.


10 thoughts on “The Art of Doing Nothing”

  1. Nice write up! I’ve tried many times to spend some time for myself in absolute silence. Most of the times I cant sit beyond 2 minutes, but when I do experience some sort of calm for a short period of time

  2. This reminds of that funny adage supposedly by Buddha

    “Dont just do something, Sit there!”

  3. I have been meditating for a long time and the benefits are priceless. It is hard to explain the real benefits of meditation to people that cannot sit still for more than 5 minutes.

    However if they knew what they are missing out they would start making time to focus on silence instantly.

  4. We love ourselves,but forget to honer our soul .
    Say : I am good . I like to see good things.

  5. when you’re doing nothing you’re actually doing everything . you are most active when inactive…just have to experience the inactivity and activity begins…when I am not there… HE is…and that is …action…and reaction…and then…oneness…equanimity…eternity

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