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.

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.

The greatest discovery unknown to man; Self-discovery

Just as entire continents had to be dis-covered and then mapped out so that others could also follow in the footsteps of the early pioneers, so too it is with man’s ultimate destination, that of self-realisation.

When you possess the map, are convinced about the destination and are fully aware of the benefits of going, the voyage itself becomes simply a matter of embarking. As with any journey, each person must depart from where they are and therefore the individual map will vary with each person depending on where they are traveling from.

Before any voyage worthy of the name is ever undertaken, one must have first heard of the destination and found a good, strong reason for embarking. The next stage is gathering more information so as to deepen ones conviction and build confidence. Then comes the planning stage, one begins to collect and assemble detailed maps and points of reference. For the journey to actually begin, the unique coordinates of each adventurer must be taken into account and the first step has to and can only be taken from where you currently are.

In relation to self-discovery the maps exist just the same as the ones set down for various geographical locations. They are only a little more scattered and must first be assembled by each individual self-explorer. Most people seem to have misinterpreted and misunderstood many of the maps or their segments and so it is no wonder they keep going around in circles and never actually arrive at the desired destination.

It is called self-discovery for a reason. You must discover it for yourself. Not that help isn’t freely available, it’s the discovery part that seems to trip most people up. Read the words and take them literally; dis-cover ie. un-cover, meaning findable because it already exists, although under a cover, under the surface or disguised.

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 final goal”

Call it what you will, the final goal, the supreme reality, kingdom of heaven, enlightenment, self-realisation or simply a return to the natural self as I like to think of it.

By its very nature, the immensity of this state of being is only ever truly understood once arrived at. It could not be otherwise because the very act of realisation, the claiming as one’s own, comes about by way of understanding.

Before this stage is reached and one of the obstacles to it, is simply the fact that it is incorrectly seen as a resting place, perhaps the ultimate resting place. In a sense this is partly true, for coming to know One-self is the ultimate relief, and an integral part of that relief is the knowing that this peace can never again be lost.

However, in order to clarify things and perhaps assist you in the deepening of the all-important understanding, you should know, that far more than being “just” a resting place, this most desirable state of utter fulfilment is predominantly a launching platform. When you rotate into this new, most magnificent reality that is the birthright of every being, it is finally seen for what it really is, a starting point for high adventure.

The miserable, illusory and petty life you once lived and were so attached to is traded in for something incomparably more exhilerating, love-filled and wonder-full, and so if you could fully comprehend at least this part in its entirety, then the mustering up of energy required to do what needs to be done becomes a non-issue and the “final goal” is yours for the taking.