Getting Lost in Just Doing

By Leo Babauta

Sometimes we get discouraged about ourselves: we think, “I’m not doing a good job, I’m not disciplined, I’m not good enough, I suck.” Or something like that.

What can we do? Give ourselves a pep talk? (Sure!) Find something to appreciate about ourselves that’s awesome? (Yes!)

Another approach, highly recommended, is to just forget about it.

When we’re discouraged about ourselves, we’re doing a lot of hand-wringing about why we’re not good enough, not amazing enough, not successful enough, not special enough. But what’s so important about being special? Why are we so preoccupied with that? It’s a waste of brain cycles.

Instead, just pick something to work on. Write something, draw something, program something, animate something, sew something. It doesn’t matter. Anything that your heart is drawn to.

Set an intention for this activity: I’m doing this out of compassion for others, out of love for myself, to meet my commitment to so and so.

Now get started: begin actually doing it. Don’t worry about whether you’ll do it for 10 minutes or an hour. Don’t worry about how good you’ll be at it, or what people will think of it, or whether you’ll succeed or not. Those are not relevant to the task.

Just do. Put your mind completely in the activity, in the motion and ideas and emotions, in your body and breath and surroundings. Be completely mindful, completely immersed.

And this child inside yourself, worried about being special? He or she disappears. Gets lost, as you become immersed in the doing.

Try it now. Pick something, set an intention, and start doing. And lose yourself in the doing.

What do you do when all your Christmases come at once and are here to stay?

This is a serious question.

How do you or would you handle a situation (call it what you will) where suddenly you find yourself in a position where everything in your existence has fallen into place in an unshakeable, irreversible kind of way? What to do, if anything?

How would you be if you conquered this life (your self) to the point where no more could possibly be added to your state of utter love, bliss & fulfilment & no thing could be taken away?

What would remain? What would be left to do?

 

 

Freedom from the “what next” compulsion

Being free from the obsession of “what next” isn’t so much a thing that you consciously go out to achieve but rather something you notice, like a persistent itch that suddenly stops. And what a relief it is to be focused in the present moment, not for the moment, but abiding there (here, now) permanently.

Voluntary serfdom; doing something other than what you’d most love to be doing

I often wonder about the percentage of people who can honestly say they are doing what they’d most love to be doing in life. I suspect it isn’t many, probably in the decimal points.

If you think you need this (money) to have that (ideal lifestyle), then what you really want is that and not this?!

I’ve just returned home from intense and inspiring London. I try to make it over there about once a year to visit family and I love the place. For a few days at a time that is. The intensity and contrast to how I normally live is astounding and because of this I can enjoy it to the fullest. Over the years I have identified a part of the capital’s population that I call wealthy serfs. These are people who spend the majority of their lives doing something other than what they’d most like to be doing and what keeps them in this condition is compensation. They are rewarded or compensated in a variety of ways, all of which are illusory in nature meaning that they have no substance and don’t deliver real happiness. The theory they hold onto is that one day they will buy themselves out of this lifestyle, retire early and then, finally, do what they really want to do. Of course this rarely happens mostly because of two things;

1. They get so caught up in the numerous forms of compensation, the comforts and luxuries, that they begin to mistake these for “the” real thing.

2. Over time they lose sight of the original vision. The calling of the heart has been thwarted and neglected until it is practically silenced.

The donkey chasing the carrot analogy comes to mind only I would add to it that in this case, the carrot just keeps on getting bigger and shinier but never actually closer.

This phenomenon is unanimously confirmed by the serfs themselves. My own brother, his friends and colleagues who work for some of the biggest financial institutions in the world, regrettably but without hesitation agree. In making this observation, I don’t mean to judge or hope to correct anyone. In fact, I am quite fascinated by and admire the accomplishments of these people but I cannot help to notice a vital component missing in them.

They lack inner peace and stillness. There is an absence of contentment, fulfilment and a general sense of satisfaction. They, like many of us in fact, do not realise that to acquire and enjoy more of the truly valuable and worthwhile things in life it is subtraction rather than addition that is needed. Removing the self created obstacles that prevent us from living in the fullness of each and every moment is actually far more important than trying to add, in whatever form, anything that we imagine ourselves to be lacking.

Life is far too valuable to spend it doing anything less than what you’d most like to be doing and when one awakens to this realisation a change becomes imminent. The good news is that a change of this magnitude from self-imposed bondage to complete freedom happens in an instant and does not come as the end result of a long and tedious process. When correctly grasped and taken full advantage of, the years of neglecting ones own highest ideals can act as the driving mechanism, providing the energy that ultimately compels one to make this most worthwhile step and finally live into the version of life and being that the true self has yearned for all along.

At the end of the day it is nothing but a choice.

Remain sane. Let nature do its thing.

Spend time in nature, regularly and preferably alone. Simple as that. Regardless of the time of year and especially if you are a city dweller, make it a habit to do the following as often as possible;

1. Sit around a campfire

2. Watch the stars

3. Observe the phases of the moon.

4. Take walks in the woods or whatever natural, people-free surroundings you have reasonable access to.

5. Spend a night under the stars, even if it is just your own backyard.

6. Cycle, hike, ski, surf or take up and do anything that involves being out in the elements.

7. Enjoy early mornings and take full advantage of the crisp, beautiful energy that each day so generously offers at this magic time. Each of the above mentioned points work wonders for the simple fact that the contrast to “everyday” city life is so profound. Nature provides the opportunity for an instant reset, anytime, all the time. All you have to do is go out and allow it to do its thing. There is a certain beauty and unfathomable peace in the absence of man-made objects, noises, smells and all the other sensory stimuli including the things that are not apparent yet have influence over us such as various electromagnetic frequencies, wi-fi signals and even the thought forms that fly around. In the absence of these things nature is not only present but comes to the forefront of your attention and it is in the nature of nature to inspire all that is beautiful and good in man. Satyam, shivam, sundaram (the true, the good, the beautiful)

The eternal friend and guide

Keep the ‘I am’ in the focus of awareness, remember that you are, watch yourself ceaselessly and the unconscious will flow into the conscious without any special effort on your part. Wrong desires and fears, false ideas, social inhibitions are blocking and preventing its free interplay with the conscious. Once free to mingle, the two become one and the one becomes all. The person merges into the witness, the witness into awareness, awareness into pure being, yet identity is not lost, only its limitations are lost. It is transfigured, and becomes the real Self, the sadguru, the eternal friend and guide. You cannot approach it in worship. No external activity can reach the inner self; worship and prayers remain on the surface only; to go deeper meditation is essential, the striving to go beyond the states of sleep, dream and waking. In the beginning the attempts are irregular, then they recur more often, become regular, then continuous and intense, until all obstacles are conquered.