Minute Meditations

The Art of Doing Nothing

Some people take exception to my talk about the power of pause, living in the present moment, and the art of doing nothing. They don’t like the idea of “wasting time.” But there’s a difference between wasting time and just being bored: Wasting time really is intentional. You are, literally, spending time. On clouds, or lilies, or naps, or silence, or prayer, or providing a generous spirit, or coffee with friends (even if on Zoom), or listening to someone’s story, or caring for a flock of birds, or watching your cats fight it out for the best spot on the couch. Which means that you are not mortgaging your time or your life on any old distraction merely out of boredom. When you do pause and pay attention, there is an internal recalibration. While nothing is “added” to your life, there is a new awareness of the light that is within. Let’s call it our new internal wealth account. As long as success is measured by keeping score, we lose track of most everything that makes us human and, therefore, glad to be alive.

—from the book Stand Still: Finding Balance When the World Turns Upside Down,
by Terry Hershey, page 9

Stand Still by Terry Hershey


4 thoughts on “The Art of Doing Nothing”

  1. The key to success is authenticity. So, if one is not themselves, then you’re not going to be successful. But is success important? Well, being oneself is. So, we all have to ask ourselves sooner or later, who am I? And how are you going to do that if you don’t take the time to do that? Some things take time. “Who we are is more important than anything we may happen to accomplish. In other words, holiness matters,” to paraphrase Matthew Kelly from his book “Rediscover the Saints, twenty-five questions that will change your life.”

  2. Lord Jesus Christ, increase our hunger for you and show us the way that leads to everlasting peace and happiness. May we desire you above all else and find perfect joy in doing your will. Amen.

  3. Arlene B. Muller

    If we are praying, spending time relating to family members or friends, communing with nature, or spending time with animals, I would neither call this “doing nothing” or “wasting time”. I think all these could be doing something important.

  4. “Be still and know that I am God.” Now that’s a command I can wrap my heart around! Nothing better than sitting on my porch swing enjoying the beauty and stillness of the late afternoon sun. You know the time of day I’m talking about…lengthening shadows, mellow shades of green, softening sunlight and the last gathering of the birds, bunnies and squirrels for the day. It is then, when I am still, that I know God…Call it doing nothing or doing something. It is what it is…a gift!

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