Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Trying hard to do...

"The tree on the mountain height is its own enemy.
The grease that feeds the light devours itself.
The cinnamon tree is edible: so it is cut down!
The lacquer tree is profitable: they maim it.
Every man knows how useful it is to be useful.

No one seems to know
How useful it is to be useless."

-Chuang Tzu

In January I resolved to read less. My intention being that if I read less I would have more time for other activities. Realizing I already had plenty of time for other activities and that what I truly lacked was time for idleness, I further resolved to do nothing. Good and proper nothingness: Sitting on my porch, walking, thinking, trying not to think. Being an inveterate reader, I couldn’t possibly just begin this new course. I had to read about doing nothing first. Below are a few books that provided further encouragement to do nothing:

The Way of Chuang Tzu (beautiful meditations on simplicity, humor, and contentment)
How to be Idle (Tom Hodgkinson's goal: convince folks of the merits of idleness)
Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness (great essays on simple pleasures)
Candide (Candide does everything before reaching a place and state where he can do nothing).

Months later I still love a good book about nothing, but I've also become more comfortable with nothingness. The fall seems a fitting time to really hone the craft of doing nothing.


Anonymous said...

'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff' by Richard Carlson is another book that encourages us to take time to do nothing. Or just plain be bored, so we can get in touch with what we truly desire.

Aleph said...

Thanks for the encouragement for doing nothing!! Great post!