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.

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Want less, have more

It’s either wanting or receiving. The less I want, the more I have. What do I want more of anyway? The feeling or the thing that will, hopefully, produce the feeling?

I want:

more simplicity

more calmness

more presence (presents)

more freedom

more power

more fulfilment

more joy

more love

more often…

 

 

 

 

Anticrastination: the art of constructive non-doing

yoga-dog

If procrastination is “the action of delaying or postponing something” as defined by the Oxford dictionary, then anticrastination is the art of prioritising non-doing as the most wholesome and worthwhile by-pass-time.

Procrastination feels bad, it is putting off the necessary and urgent in favour of that which provides instant, short-term gratification. Anticrastination on the other hand feels good. It is a deliberate choice to de-clutter the mind and purify its incessant urge to express and make happen.

The mind’s normal mode is like a nonstop TV ad segment that flashes random images in relentless succession and takes you for a ride. What you want is to switch to documentary mode where you can observe the natural flow of life at a pace that allows for the appreciation and true savouring of all that is worthy of being truly enjoyed.

The idea for this very post that shook me out of my pleasant, morning bout of anticrastination came from a friend who posted the following on facebook;

To all who procrastinate: “We must be diligent today. To wait until tomorrow is too late. Death comes unexpectedly. How can we bargain with it?” –The Buddha

For more on this topic, check out the work of Leo Babauta, the master of procrastination remedies. zenhabits.net/procrastination/

Now, back to anticrastination….

The discomfort zone

seed to expression

If you can get comfortable with the discomfort zone, the place of rapid growth, then you have in large part won life my friend. Anything that you can conceive of in the way of achievement, of becoming, must and does inevitably involve the process of constantly pushing through what were previously boundaries and establishing new and newer comfort zones.

Befriend the discomfort zone.

Keep the pot on the boil

To bring a large pot of water to the boil takes time, it is a relatively long but straight forward process. Once it has reached boiling point though, it retains its temperature for a long time after it is taken off the stove and requires much less effort or heat to bring it to boil again.

In just the same way you can become aware of and take full advantage of this principle in your own personal endeavors. Whatever discipline or practice you apply this to, you can clearly see that it operates unfailingly. In relation to exercise and keeping fit for example; if you go through an intense period of exercise like a boot camp, you reach a level of fitness that is way beyond what it was previous to the regime that got you there. However after this intense period is over, maintaining this new level or staying close to boiling point, is comparably easy.

On the one hand it now requires much less “heat” than the original, intense regime that actually caused the “pot to boil” but on the other hand, the new level’s “maintenance mode” is now also greater than what it was before. The difference lies in the way it is experienced, with much greater ease. The temperature so to speak, has been raised by a notch but the energy and effort required to do this is the same or less than what it was before.

There is no limit to how this principle can be applied and it is worth knowing that it works just as reliably in matters of the most important, those concerning awareness and spiritual awakening. When you arrive at new levels of understanding and provided that you know what to practice and how to practice, then all you have to do is, well, practice. In the early stages of one’s path the practice, whether it is apparent or not, is actually to deepen the level of faith because there is still some time lag between effort expounded and the harvesting of its benefits, but from a certain point it becomes a self-perpetuating, upward spiral of joy as the rewards are instantly recognised and experienced.

Thus a new and good habit is born, for when an act becomes easy through constant repetition it becomes a pleasure to perform and if it is a pleasure to perform it is man’s nature to perform it often. When I perform it often it becomes a habit and I become its slave and since it is a good habit this is my will.

The mind trick that corrupts & snatches away your most valuable possession, the present.

Not long ago during a (for me) profound bit of insight, I was gifted with an unusually deep understanding of one of the minds most cunning mechanisms.

Essentially what the mind is doing all the time, for it cannot work with the present moment, is that it makes you pay($) attention to a re-membered past moment or one imagined in the future. Both are unreal substitutes and nothing but mental constructs. The stamp of reality is and only ever will be in the intensity of the ever-present now moment regardless in whichever way it may be manifesting itself, now.

The mind does this by making you believe that a moment remembered from the past or one imagined as a potentiality in the future, could be more fulfilling than the moment you are currently experiencing. This becomes a mental habit and proceeds to diminish and dilute the real now until it is seen and abandoned. Remembering and experiencing a highlight moment from the past is simply no match for the living present. Once you begin to stay more and more focused in the now, even the most mundane experience becomes, or rather remains pure bliss.

When the awareness of your own radiant being is seen for what it really is, the nourishment finally begins to flow from an unlimited source that you realise comes from within and all that is external becomes equally irrelevant in the effect and sway it once used to possess over you.

Ultimately all of this is indeed very simple and straightforward. The motivation behind all of man’s focused efforts is that we want to feel good and this inevitably leads to the search of finding out why we don’t.