Life is full of paradoxes. I’ve often noticed that when I’m working on something new or trying to solve a problem, the first attempt is quite often the best – or at the very least, has things about it that are better than all my subsequent efforts. This can be very annoying, because it feels like I’m going backwards rather than forwards, and that I’m not learning anything from all my efforts.
But I’m beginning to understand why this is so, or at least I think I am. It’s to do with doing, and non-doing.
I’m reading a book by Jon Kabat-Zin called Wherever You Go, there You Are, a book filled with such luminous, startling truth that every now and then I find myself putting it down and just staring into space, awash with the realisation of the obvious that somehow eludes me most of the time. I quote:
‘The joy of non-doing is that nothing else needs to happen for this moment to be complete. The wisdom in it, and the equanimity that comes out of it, lie in knowing that something else surely will.
It reeks of paradox. The only way you can do anything of value is to have the effort come out of non-doing and to let go of caring whether it will be of use or not.’
I’ve always known this to be true, but I’ll probably never stop needing reminders. I need to relax into more and more moments of ‘non-doing’ every day – because I know that paradoxically, more will come out of this than if I drive my actions by concentrated thought – or by caring too much about the outcome. So why not relax a little more, play a little more, stay still in the happiness of the moment a bit more often, secure in knowing that this is just simply what I most need to do?
I’m off right now, to do just that…….