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Posts Tagged ‘Non-Doing’

Sitting in the Abyss of the Vast Unknown

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Non-doing keeps showing up. I decided to take the summer off from giving workshops, retreats, and healing circles. After announcing this in my newsletter, I thought, “What will I do with all this time off?” Quickly, I began a list of all the things I could “do” this summer. I started to look up classes and programs I could attend as a participant – none of which really excited me. Then my best friend invited me to do nothing – to stay in the abyss of not knowing and see what shows up. This has become my new practice – staying in the abyss and just listening for what is next.

I started with an easy topic – listening for what ought to be my next book to read. I stared at my bookcase for a few moments, reading dozens of book titles. I watched as my hand was drawn towards Byron Katie’s book, A Thousand Names for Joy. In each chapter, Byron Katie reflects about the Tao Te Ching. About ten pages into the book, Katie quotes the Tao, “Practice not-doing, and everything will fall into place.

Katie reflects:
“The Master leads simply by being. “Being” looks like doing the dishes, answering the phone and e-mail, shopping, going to work, driving the kids to school, feeding the dog, doing one thing at a time, without a past or future. She doesn’t empty people’s minds. She doesn’t have to (even if that were possible). The way she helps people is by living out of don’t-know, can’t-know, no-need-to-know, not-possible-to-know, nothing-to-know.”

And just as I was writing this blog, my friend Joe Monkman posted a blog about taking a day off and giving ourselves permission to change our routine. In his Fishing for Soul blog he wrote, “Let go and allow your self to do one new or different thing today.  Give your self the gift of not doing.  Permit your self to BE.  What might you create from that place?  The possibilities are endless.”

Joe’s blog was another reminder to do nothing – just be and see what gifts arrive. Or as my friend said to me, “Just listen. Nothing else to do.”

I am sitting in the abyss of the vast unknown and have no idea what will appear. It is frightening and thrilling at the same time. As T.S. Elliot said, “Teach us to sit still.”

What gifts are awaiting you in the abyss of the vast unknown?

Mary Anne

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