The conscious art of not-doing

mountain sunset, zen rocks pyramid with meditor

The conscious art of not-doing

Are you a do-er, a not-doing or a being?

There is a conscious art to not-doing, to relaxing with clarity of intention and purpose. Chilling out can show up in many forms. These forms might include an authentic, conscious appreciation of nothing-ness, or it might manifest as a serious case of avoidance and denial. And then, of course, there are all the possibilities in-between, including consciously choosing not-doing (as opposed to, the perhaps more natural state of, just being).

“We’ll do it all everything, on our own. We don’t need, anything, or anyone.”

For the lifetime do-er, not-doing can be a very scary construct. For this person, “doing” has defined their value and existence. Accomplishments, tasks complete, awards won, busy hands…just busy-ness in general, define the do-er’s life style. When this kind of person is not-doing, their very existence could be called into question.

How does a recovering do-er make the transition to not-doing, and then graduate to time spent in beingness? Probably with a lot of consciousness, practice and dissonance toleration. But today’s Grounded Relating weekly Monday Music selection offers a vignette into that transition through Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars”.

If I don’t do anything, will anyone be with me?

By construct and design, this song includes a lot of spaciousness. The music is mellow, the timing is slow, and the lyrics are few, with lots of space in-between. This gives the listener a chance to pause. Actually, it forces the listener to pause. “Chasing Cars” is practically a walking meditation into beingness for the do-er. A first foray into beingness might begin with spaciousness, just one of many steps on the path to not-doing, and the virtual enemy to the busy-hand-focused person.

What is there to do in the pauses? For some, “nothing” is in the pauses, along with rest, relaxation and recreation. But for others, in the pauses and the silences where beingness lives, the person unaccustomed to not-doing may find difficulty. In “Chasing Cars” the main chorus question is: “If I lay here, if I just lay here…would you lie with me and just forget the world?” For the do-er, forgetting the world of responsibility and action is a very tall order.

Is not-doing a form of Being?

What else can “Chasing Cars” illuminate for us about not-doing? As already mentioned, the music of the song clearly helps mark out the sensate tensions of space and slowing down. For the do-er, not-doing involves a bit of waiting, and lots of inaction. This is antithetical to how the do-er has previously chosen to live! The do-er does it all, all on their own. This notion begs the question, does the do-er steer clear of not-doing out of fear, in order to avoid the seemingly empty consciousness-state of being?

“If I lay here, if I just lay here….would you lie with me and just forget the world?”

At something of a subconscious level, the person avoiding not-doing may actually fear space, time, open-ness, and even after a fashion connection. Their first dummy light on the dashboard path to not-doing, might be the question: If I don’t do anything, will anyone be with me? And for the do-er, all they know is doing. Doing is how they connect, through tasks and achievements. How would just laying there, get them connection?

The perfect eyes of Other

Well therein lies the beauty of being. Without action or activity-generated worth, the do-er can know that they receive, are seen, and experience belonging. What a new idea and construct! To possess value, not for their works, but for something else, something more integral yet also more ethereal: When the do-er is not-doing, they are received just because, for nothing.

“All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes
They’re all I can see”

This is a very new value-system for the do-er to get their hands, and heads, around. The idea that they could be a not-doing and still have worth is strange. And it may take a while for the not-doing to be recognized as a form of being received. What might it feel like to understand being received?

The “Chasing Cars” lyrics above suggest that seeing ourselves through another’s eyes might be an act of grace. Our own blinders momentarily fall to the wayside. And we have the opportunity to experience ourselves without our limiting belief structures and personal baggage experiences. We can see ourselves more perfectly, through the perfect eyes of another.

Learning to tolerate the dissonance of being received

This is a very new value-system for the do-er to get their hands, and heads, around. The idea that they could be a not-doing and still have worth is strange. And it may take a while for the not-doing to be recognized as form of “being received”. The life time doer, needs to cherish the following lyrics and truly take them to heart:

“Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden
That’s bursting into life.”

Existence is a “garden…bursting into life”. And the sowing of doing or not-doing, either one will create a garden. The not-doing garden is just fertilized with trust, hope, relaxation, faith, joy and calmness. Both the doing and the not-doing garden achieve results, look fabulous, and provide a sense of accomplishment. The journey to the end result just varies bit.

One role of grace in not-doing

Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” lyrics may be particularly poignant in today’s troubling times. What might society learn in particular from this simple song? Perhaps the answer is the role of grace in not-doing:

“I need your grace to remind me, to find my own.”

Random acts of kindness, seemingly small and insignificant, can help another on the path to finding their own grace, by witnessing the grace made visible by another. You can change the world in small ways every day, with simple acts of grace that can show up in forms of being, doing, or not-doing. Share grace, to build grace, to receive grace, and to make the world a better place.

Get off the doing train; try a little not-doing! Enjoy Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” as posted on YouTube by SnowPatrolVevo:

Come back again to enjoy more of Grounded Relating’s weekly Monday Music. Enjoy the music, and use the Grounded Relating Monday Music Challenge to stay present to yourself today, and every day!

As written by Nathan Connolly Gary Lightbody, Jonathan Quinn, Tom Simpson and Paul Wilson the full lyrics (from Metro Lyrics) for Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” follow below.

“Chasing Cars”

We’ll do it all
Everything
On our own

We don’t need
Anything
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

I don’t quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden
That’s bursting into life

Let’s waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden
That’s bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes
They’re all I can see

I don’t know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things
Will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

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