H.U.G Corner: Thought of the Week 6/20

Location : South Houston Hospice

Quiet Mind: One-Minute Retreats from a Busy World

Often I find it difficult to get across the idea of doing nothing. I first discovered the resistance to the idea in myself. I continue to discover it in other people as I speak on stopping.

We are just not used to doing nothing. It sounds and feels and seems wrong somehow. We want to fill up the time with something.

At a recent mini-seminar at a bookstore, a young man, about seventeen, entered late, wearing his hat backward and carrying a skateboard. He sat down in the middle of the front row and paid close attention to what I was saying.

Midway through the presentation he raised his hand and said, “What you’re saying is that we should spend a lot of time just thinking about the really important things in life, right?’

“Noooo,” I answered, “I’m suggesting that’s something we should not do! Just do nothing, don’t try to think about anything!” My answer was met with a vexed and quizzical look. The look remained, and as I continued the seminar his attention stayed focused on my answer to his question, and not on what I was saying.

After a little while, he stood up quite suddenly, smiled at me, gathered up his skateboard and backpack, and began to leave.

“So long,” I said, interrupting my presentation. All eyes were on him as he took the opportunity to say, “So long! Oh, and thanks for nothing. I appreciate it!”

I think he meant it.

Today, consider the question: What is my understanding of doing nothing?

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