Napa Valley Insight Meditation Message Board › Non-Doing: Readings for June 26th NVMG Meeting
The next couple of weeks I thought we might explore some writings by Jon Kabat-Zinn from his bestselling book on meditation called “Wherever You Go There You Are.” Jon is the director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is a founding member of the Cambridge Zen Center and often speaks at Spirit Rock.
The first reading I’ve picked out contains a couple of short sections on the Buddhist Principle of “Non-Doing.” This material is somewhat a of a continuation of the ideas presented in the last chapter of James Baraz’s book Awaking Joy and provides a nice lead in to several of the topics Kabat-Zinn covers in his book.
You can print out a copy of the reading by clicking on the link below (please bring a copy with you on Wednesday):
The concept of "not doing" seems like hardly a concept at all, or perhaps a call to be lazy. Some might mistakenly think it means to be passive, but in fact it refers to spontaneous and effortless action.
In Taoism the concept of non-doing refers to the cultivation of a state of being in which our actions are in alignment with the ebb and flow of the natural world. It is a kind of “going with the flow” that is characterized by great ease and awareness, in which - without even trying - we’re able to respond perfectly to whatever situations arise.
By developing a daily meditation practice we are training ourselves in the art of non-doing – of recognizing the bloom in the present moment. We are in essence giving ourselves permission to let go of all doing and shift into being mode, in which we simply dwell in stillness and mindfulness, attending to the moment-to moment unfolding of the present - adding nothing, subtracting nothing, simply affirming that “This is it.”
It is in these moments that we begin to take the hero's journey of self-discovery. As Oliver Wendell Holmes puts it,
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are
tiny matters compared to what lies withih us."