Thursday, May 12, 2005

Do Nothing, Do Something

by AJ/Skald

For three years I have embraced the title "Do nothing man of Tao" (stolen from Kerouac, among others). I worked part time. I lived in a van. I enjoyed blissful unemployment. I loafed in SE Asia.

And I, in fact, did very very little:
.... long hours lounging in coffee shops
.... lazy days on tropical islands
.... long walks with no destination
.... hours of contemplation
.... pages of writing

But a strange thing has happened recently. After three lazy years, Im itching to do SOMETHING. Im restless for action. Now that Ive purged the expectations of wage slavery, Ive discovered my own ambitions.

Ive discovered that I love teaching-- ideas bubble furiously in my brain. Im eager to implement them. Im eager to launch my own program, however small. Teaching... on my terms.. brings me bliss and fires my imagination. And dammit, its fun.

Likewise with writing... good or bad, I love doing it. I want to write more and I want to improve. Im getting more ambitious in this area of my life too... not content to just scribble in my journal anymore..

My progression is a natural one... it echoes ancient cycles, ancient archtypes. Except for a few rare individuals, most people do not want to retreat from the world forever. Most people have dreams (however deeply buried). Most people want to engage the world vigorously. Most people want to work & play with passion.

The problem is, most are doing other people's work-- a recipe for depression, helplessness, and disaster. Most have forgotten their dreams. Most bend under a load of fear.

The first step, therefore, for most... is to shed the burden of wage slavery. Do nothing for a long, long time. Do nothing but loaf, recover, question, observe, and listen. Do nothing but probe for those lost dreams and ambitions. Do nothing but awaken intuition. Do nothing but de-program and de-condition your mind. Do nothing but find your bliss.

Then, and only then, are you ready.

Then, and only then, is it time to DO SOMETHING again.

Then, and only then, is it time to work (play).

It will happen of its own accord, without striving or effort.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,

You're a luck guy. I suppose some would have called you a bum (my ex-wife). Anyway, I read the comment you left on acleareye and wanted to see what else you had to say.

"The first step, therefore, for most... is to shed the burden of wage slavery. Do nothing for a long, long time. Do nothing but loaf, recover, question, observe, and listen. Do nothing but probe for those lost dreams and ambitions. Do nothing but awaken intuition. Do nothing but de-program and de-condition your mind. Do nothing but find your bliss."

This is expensive (not only in dollars but self-currency) and unattainable for most people. You got lucky! Go foward, make the most of your life.

Jim Wilde
www.advancinginsights.com

AJ said...

Bum

Jim, great comments.

You are right, I have been very lucky- good parents, college education, Masters degree. Ive had many advantages compared to a lot of people.

But "doing nothing" still took more than luck. It took me several years to simplify my life to the point where I could do it.

I gave away the bulk of my possessions. I reduced my living expenses drastically. Eventually, I moved into a van in order to avoid paying rent.

I agree this is very difficult to do (for some), but disagree that it is unattainable for most people. In fact, it s attainable by almost everyone. Matt's "Young Homeless Professional" experiment proves that it can be done even while working a professional job.

The difficulty, Ive found, is not in the external changes required...

...rather, its the challenge of radically restructuring beliefs, expectations, and fears.

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