Sitting Peacefully Doing Nothing
By Karen Wright
"Sitting peacefully doing nothing Spring comes and the grass grows all by itself." ~ Zen Proverb
When I first read this statement I felt peaceful and a soft sigh left my lips. And then, unable to just let me enjoy the moment, my mind began its inevitable analysis and commentary.
"Sit peacefully doing nothing?? The grass doesn't have bills to pay!"
"When am I going to find the time to just sit?"
"Do nothing? What a waste of time!"
"Well, grass might grow all by itself, but I'm not a plant!"
Once again, my relentless mind stole my peace. I shouldn't be too surprised, I suppose. The Zen proverb left no room for the mind to be. Its existence was inconsequential to the quietude of the moment. Imagine that - the mind being of no consequence. That statement feels so right on one level and yet, so wrong on another.
Over the top of my computer screen, as I sit here now, I see a most glorious maple tree with its leaves fluttering in a gentle breeze. Surrounding the maple's trunk are a profusion of flowers in every color and size. Beyond the flowers, the green grass does indeed grow all by itself. And down the hillside, a massive river flows northward before beginning its 640 mile journey west to the Pacific Ocean.
All of this activity - synchronized perfectly - asks nothing of me. It simply happens. I've watched that river from my lawn swing many times. Sometimes flowing quickly with spring melt from snow-capped mountains. Sometimes so smooth it mirrored the whip cream clouds perfectly. Billions of gallons of water passing by day after day. Unaware of my existence.
How we struggle as humans to just live. We toil and resist and force. Each day seems to be a battle. With what? Against whom? For what purpose?
More and more I believe we engage in the struggle just to feel alive. Imagine that - peace simply isn't dramatic enough! We create strife and conflict and discord. We push and pull. So caught up in the drama that we fail to see that life goes on in spite of our clamoring. The dawn breaks. Night falls. Seasons come and go and come again.
Might we be missing the eternal truths of this life, distracted by our self-enacted theater? Perhaps we'd each remember who we really are if we simply sat peacefully doing nothing while we watched nature dance. We're part of that dance - if we remember - if we choose. We fit into its rhythm. It doesn't fit into ours.
Go, trade in the pixels on this screen for the glorious parade of life outside your window. Look to the sky and let your heart soar with the birds. Feel the breeze on your face and smell the wonder of life unfolding as it should. Let its peace find a home in you. Flow as the river flows. Steadily, unmindfully. Breathe it all in. This is life. The one you'll remember when all the struggle and drama lose their appeal. When you see through the inconsequence of it all. This is home. It's always been your home.
Karen Wright is author of The Sequoia Seed: Remembering the Truth of Who You Are, a great read for anyone who is seeking understanding or guidance, inspiration or clarity in his or her life.