Thursday Thirteen 48: Nothing
An affirmation is a strong, positive statement that something is already so. (Shakti Gawain)
Last weekend, I spent a few days in Woodstock, New York, visiting a friend but otherwise doing exactly nothing.
1. Doing nothing is a fine art that involves being neither productive nor useful in any way or form.
2. It requires accepting that the world will do just fine without me. This is not a had fact for me to swallow. I have suspected it all along.
3. Sure enough, the sky stayed up and the earth stayed down in my absence.
4. In fact, nobody noticed I was gone.
5. At one point, nothing took the shape of a rigorous uphill walk to visit a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. (To the untrained eye, nothing can look like something, but it isn't.) After this adventure, I sat myself on a park bench on the green and did some more nothing. Just looked around and loved it all.
6. A very nice older man asked me what I was doing in town for the weekend. "Nothing," I said. "Nothing at all."
7. "Don't you feel guilty doing nothing?" he smiled.
8. "No," I said. "Not in the least."
9. I told him I was just down from visiting the monastery. He told me about a Zen temple somewhere nearby. I told him about the one in New Hartford, Connecticut, and the one in Carmel, New York. "What else do you do besides visit monasteries?" he asked.
10. "Nothing," I said. Nothing is good.
11. In the midst of all that nothing there is peace, there is quiet, there is a clear way to something quite lovely and well worth attaining.
12. In the midst of all that nothing, I can name that something and move toward it.
13. It is the magic that makes flowers beautiful and fragrant and seductive on a summer day, that transforms the movement of water into the music of summer, that turns a summery evening breeze into a love story.
Actually, that something is everything. And it is right in front of us and just beyond nothing.