Following on from my Art practice as meditation? post, I thought I’d share a passage of the book I’m reading at the moment – Wherever You Go, There You Are by mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn.
‘Non-doing has nothing to do with being indolent or passive. Quite the contrary. It takes great courage and energy to cultivate non-doing, both in stillness and activity. Nor is it easy to make a special time for non-doing and to keep at it in the face of everything in our lives which needs to be done.
But non-doing doesn’t have to be threatening to people who feel they always have to get things done. They might find they get even more “done,” and done better, by practicing non-doing. Non-doing simply means letting things be and allowing them to unfold in their own way. Enormous effort can be involved, but it is a graceful, knowledgeable, effortless effort, a “doerless doing,” cultivated over a lifetime.
Effortless activity happens at moments in dance and in sports at the highest levels of performance; when it does, it takes everybody’s breath away. But it also happens in every area of human activity, from painting to car repair to parenting. Years of practice and experience combine on some occasions, giving rise to a new capacity to let execution unfold beyond technique, beyond exertion, beyond thinking. Action then becomes a pure expression of art, of being, of letting go of all doing – a merging of mind and body in motion. We thrill in watching a superb performance, whether athletic or artistic, because it allows us to participate in the magic of true mastery, to be uplifted, if only briefly, and perhaps to share in the intention that each of us, in our own way, might touch such moments of grace and harmony in the living of our own lives.’