A degree of IDLENESS is essential to an efficient and effective life. This is an oft forgotten insight in an age when mindfulness apps set targets for sitting still and for exercise, and of course for monitoring our hearts, bloods and other bits! God forbid that any of them should raise!
Rumi, Sufi story teller, speaks of a father who well loved his three sons and was wise as to the art of idleness. He wanted to know what his off spring knew of the power of ‘Doing Nothing’, so he asked the
The eldest explained his adept at ‘doing little’. It had made him patient. He explained how, for example, he could read another man’s mind by the sound of their voice and, if they refused to speak, he could watch him for three days and get to know them well. The old man smiled
Laziness had a different impact on the second son. It had made him crafty. He too could understand another by the sound of their voice and, if they refused to speak, the second son would start talking. The other was then bound to reply, and give them-self away. Not quite so impressive, thought the old man; craftiness is a common human trait. All you have to do is know the trick.
But idleness was best achieved by best the youngest who had the mastered gift of presence – of being, not doing, some might say.
And what comes with presence? The ability to be receptive and sit in front of another and feel what the other felt. With that sense, he could understand anyone. Some call this ‘mindsight’. A means to receive insights from a place not influenced by either joy nor grief. It is a way that mediates between voice and presence; where information and energy flow, and relationship is at its deepest.
For me, it is a place of ease. Of doing little, but affecting much. This laziness, Jesus told his followers makes a burden light. If it feels heavy, hard work, impossible then something has gone wrong. Ease is the key principal.
Buddhist teach of “right effort”, which invariably means less effort. When your legs are dead, your back is aching, and your mind feels caught up in a storm, it’s time to stop meditating. A mindless, joyful chat with a friend will be more spiritually beneficial.
Idleness allows things to unfold without a need to influence or be in need of an outcome. Stuff just happens when you contemplate it.