Doing nothing is often viewed as uselessness, laziness, or lacking in direction. Indeed, consistent lethargy, procrastination, or inaction can lead people to embody these characteristics. The duality in our society of constant action or inaction has created a stigma around what it means to do nothing. Either we are slacking off when we take a moment to breathe after a busy day, or we are sinking deeper into the lazy lake of ineptitude.
Doing nothing, however, can have deeply meaningful and beneficial consequences that can serve us for a lifetime. The practice of mindful meditation is one practice of doing nothing. Mindfulness calls for being aware of the moment you are in - not thinking of the future or the past - by simply sitting in quiet observation of the present. Once we become aware of our present state, the future and past seem much clearer and easier to navigate.
When faced with a difficult decision, indecision - or doing nothing - can be the right answer until a better one comes along. How often do we make a decision simply for the decision's sake? How often do we say we wished we could have done things differently? Resisting the urge to decide on something is a decision to be more mindful about our direction. As no wise man in particular once said that it is always better "to sleep on it."
Taking a moment out of life to reevaluate our goals and intentions is another way to make "doing nothing" a significant moment in life. So many of us constantly run the race of making money and chasing the next big opportunity. Sometimes, we forget our true purpose. When we choose pause and reflection over money and authority we many find that what seemed important to us most in one instance, many not matter so much anymore. The gift of clarity of purpose is one that will pay dividends in the many undulations of life, not just in our bank accounts and on our business cards.