How to Do Nothing

November 12, 2011 | 39 Comments »

how to do nothingLately I find myself promoting the benefits of effortlessness as part of a successful manifesting program to other deliberate creators.

Many of whom say something like,

– “I couldn’t imagine not doing anything” or
– “My life would fall apart if I did that” or
– “I wouldn’t even know how to.”

This post is for you.

Here’s your official Do Nothing Tutorial:

Note: It is recommended to begin your Nothing Practice at home until you’ve developed Nothingness skills.  Then you can take it out into the world: i.e. the workplace, boyfriend’s house, etc.

  1. Look around your living area for a comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  2. Move to said comfy spot.
  3. Sit or lie down in comfy spot.
  4. Commence nothing.

That’s it.

You are officially doing nothing.

See, not so hard!

Tips for engaging nothing:

  • do NOT try to release thoughts.
  • do NOT try to think different thoughts.
  • do NOT make an effort to breathe deeper.  (It’s okay if you do naturally, but don’t try to.)
  • do NOT close your eyes unless you want to.

Instead, just enjoy the peace of being present.  Even if it’s only for five minutes, that’s better than zero minutes of nothing.

The point here is NO effort.  No work.  No trying.  Nothing but peaceful effortlessness.

Why do I recommend this practice to deliberate creators? Because many of us have habits of working too hard – even working hard to engage law of attraction to manifest our stuff.  Doing nothing is good practice for letting Universe work magic on your behalf.  Doing nothing also turns out to be extremely helpful for raising the vibration when you have a tendency to overdo or a habit of relying on action to make something happen.

You will be amazed at how powerful a little nothing is!

But don’t take my word for it – try it yourself next time you’re wondering what you should be doing next.

PS – if you’re doing nothing in order to make something happen, that technically isn’t doing nothing.  That’s doing nothing with an agenda – and that’s something.  That doesn’t work nearly as well as really truly doing nothing.

For more tips on the power of doing nothing, visit the Slacker Manifesting and Life Sabbatical posts.

 

 

 

 

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39 Responses to “ How to Do Nothing ”

  1. Elisabeth says:

    LOL I love this! Does it go against the slacker manifesto to actually schedule time to do nothing?

  2. That’s a good question, Elisabeth! lol

    I guess a really gifted slacker doesn’t have to schedule it, but those of us in training may benefit from that practice. ha!

  3. Kim Falconer says:

    I am going to do nothing in the garden with the cats!

    Thank you, Jeannette. Wonderful post as always!

  4. Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, Photography Blog says:

    Sounds like a plan. I think I’ll do NOTHING while I watch Harry Potter with the dogs.

  5. Suzie Cheel says:

    Love this, have just been doing nothing (being present) walking at the beach.

    Learning to be present, in the now or as you say doing nothing is something that we do have to acquire-:)

  6. Okay, that’s not nothing, you guys. That’s very cool stuff, by all means, but it isn’t technically NOTHING. Doing nothing is really challenging, because you do stuff like that and you think you’re doing nothing, but you really are doing something.

    I’ve asked the Queen of Nothing (Abigail Steidley) to weigh in on this, because I am pretty new to Nothing myself.

  7. Julie Masters says:

    Having practiced doing nothing for extensive lengths of time, I’ve gotten it down to a fine art. 🙂 I’ve heard the words “unrealistic”, “irresponsible”, and “procrastinating”, associated with doing nothing, but in my experience it can be an incredibly challenging practice, and VERY powerful!

    Sometimes, when I’m tempted to act from fear, rather than from inspiration, I’ll actually say out loud to myself, “I don’t think the Universe can take care of that, I better do something RIGHT AWAY!!” It sounds so ridiculous out loud that I laugh at myself, and get right back to doing nothing.

    Thanks again Jeannette.

    Julie Masters

  8. Julie, you CRACK ME UP!! lol

    That is very funny!

    I think I’ll be laughing about that all day.

  9. ChipEFT says:

    When I think of the terms “do nothing” in conjunction with the Law of Attraction, I do not associate it with sitting in a chair, although that is a fine option.

    Rather, I see it as meaning do nothing to accomplish your “that-which-you-desire.” If you were reading a good book or enjoying a hobby, you take your mind completely off the your desired result.

    When you do you are completely aligned with getting “that-which-you-desire.”

    The point is be in the moment and fully experience what you are doing while you are there. If it feels good, find a way to make it feel even better. If it feels a little rough, find a thought that feels a little better than what you are thinking about.

    IN the end, everyone has to find their own way to get their stuff.

  10. Chip, that is definitely a powerful practice – the “distraction” which can be an enormously powerful way to alignment.

    Doing nothing in regards to your goal is sometimes the best way to get out of the Universe’s way, especially if we have a big charge on the desired end result.

    Distracting myself into alignment is worthy of practice and discussion here – but that’s not exactly what I was writing about with these instructions to do – literally – nothing.

  11. Ozio says:

    I got this wrong for years.. I always thought that doing nothing resulted in getting nothing either 🙂 The context you put it in of vibe management, really brought the wisdom in this ancient art to life..

    As I remain mindful of my inifinite ability to create any situation I wish for, action is unwarranted except for the inspired kind which doesn’t even feel like action, just part of the being.

    This is the smartest most awesome thing you’ve ever posted Ms. Maw (Though I really think we should call you Ms. Mew what with your love affair with cats and because that would remind us more of the wonderfully cute and AWESOME thing that you are 😀 )

    Much love, hugs and gratitude.. <3

  12. Ozio, I am LOVING this: “… except for the inspired kind which doesn’t even feel like action, just part of the being.”

    That is SO true and extremely well said! I haven’t got that quite right in my attempts to describe it in the past, but I am definitely quoting you from now on!

    And I DO love thinking of it as an “ancient art.” woot!

  13. Stephen says:

    I found this article this morning. I thought it might be appropriate to this discussion. While I normally have a suspicion of statistics, I like the conclusion the author reaches while interpreting his data.

    “Do less. But do what you do with complete and hard focus. Then when you’re done be done, and go enjoy the rest of the day.”

    Here’s the link:
    http://calnewport.com/blog/2011/11/11/if-youre-busy-youre-doing-something-wrong-the-surprisingly-relaxed-lives-of-elite-achievers/

  14. Stephen, I’m loving that article already just from reading the title! Thanks for sharing … off to check it out now …

    (ooh, I like this part, too! “the best of the best were the most relaxed of all.”)

    Okay, after reading that study, now Abigail HAS to tell her story of her own musical instrument “practice”! (How she developed one particularly challenging skill.)

  15. Seriously, Megan, I know what you mean! We are so “addicted” (I don’t like that word especially, but it kinda sorta fits) to action that doing nothing can be really challenging!

  16. I’m sitting in the “breakfast area” of my fabulous motel in Fort Lauderdale as I’m writing this. Being Florida, the breakfast area is actually an outside porch right on the road. We’re about 100 feet from the ocean. The air feels very soft. The temperature is just about perfect with a nice ocean breeze.

    I’ve been sitting here in reverie trying to think of the very best way to write what has been coming up from reading your post. Nothing felt very satisfactory so I just kept doing nothing.

    Then, all of a sudden, the very industrious owner of the motel came through gathering trash bags and doing things and yelling at his staff in Polish (they are all Polish immigrants). This yanked me back into “reality” as I started justifying to him in my mind what I was doing, sitting back staring out at the hotels and beach and doing nothing.

    Doing nothing has been a challenge for me because I was very good at it as a child and that didn’t sit well with some people who asserted I was lazy and that I needed to “get it into gear” and “stop loafing” and “get a move on.”

    But doing nothing is still what I’m best at. All my best ideas come when I’m doing nothing. The most amazing words come out of my mouth when I’m doing nothing (yes, I know channeling is an active verb but it is hardly active when at it’s best). Even back in the day, when I was project managing and working with attorneys, usually the only way to solve problems was to do nothing… just sit in reverie… and then the obvious next thing would present itself.

    So, this is just wonderful Jeannette. Many thanks and lots of love!

  17. TOTAL goosebumps reading this sentence, Frank: “I know channeling is an active verb but it is hardly active when at it’s best.”

    !!

  18. Megan Woods says:

    My favorite way to do nothing is knitting or crocheting. It’s as close to meditation as it gets for me, at least on a regular basis. I must admit I find it extremely difficult to sit down and do nothing. Even just watching a movie seems like a ‘waste of time’ and I find myself busily working with my hands while trying to follow the plot…

  19. Stephen — Thanks for posting the link to that article! This is the direction I’ve been going for some time intuitively. It’s helpful to read the qualitative analysis in the article and the anecdotal stories in the comments. The truly, astoundingly, successful people I’ve known in my life had empty desks and spent a lot of time goofing off. One in particular really knew how to leverage time and delegation in a way that was jaw-dropping to see. I had forgotten about that until I was reading the article. Thanks again!

  20. Jesann says:

    Ha! Yesterday I was thinking that while I had things I wanted to do with my life, right now (as in for the next few years) I’m too exhausted, and that I was really just like the guy from “Office Space” — “I’d do… nothing. I would sit on my a**, and do nothing.”

    And today I see this. I’ll take that as a hint.

    Thanks, Jeannette — and I hope you don’t mind, but I right-clicked/stole the kitty picture to put on my computer as a reminder.

  21. Stephen says:

    I particularly like that they studied musicians. 🙂

    I can tell you from my own experience playing guitar that the time spent in enjoyment between practice sessions is some of the most “productive.” I can remember practicing a new technique over and over and not quite getting it, and then putting it aside and enjoying something else, and the next time I came back to practice, I could play the troublesome piece.

    I think it’s connected to focusing on the “problem” does not allow for the solution and walking away from the problem does.

    Successfully doing nothing is certainly a way to walk away from any “problem.”

  22. Ozio says:

    [MARKED AS SPAM BY ANTISPAM BEE | Server IP]
    From the “Ozio” page on Italian Wikipedia – Translated by google, so expect some inaccuracies 😛

    http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozio
    ——————————————————————————–
    The term OZIO – “idle” (derived from the Latin otium ) indicates an occupation primarily devoted to intellectual pursuits, activities in fact reserved for the ruling classes, and is opposed to the concept of negotium , deal (more by necessity than by choice) of their business.

    Over time, idleness has taken on a negative connotation ( idleness is the mother of all vices ) as synonymous with inactivity, laziness, inertia, but it was not always the object of social disapproval. Idleness was espoused by Seneca ( De OTIO ), Epictetus (the Manual), Bertrand Russell ( Praise of Idleness ), Itsuo Tsuda ( The non-doing ) and, ironically, the socialist Paul Lafargue ( Praise of Laziness ).

    There are two schools of thought about this: that of the ‘ idle fatigue’ and that of ‘ idle beneficial’

    While the former asserts that idleness can be a form of activity, since it can be lounging reading or playing sports, the other proclaims the true leisure in which you let your mind rest and does not implement any kind of activity.

    ———————————————————————-

    I’ve always liked this OZIOness – it totally fits with my inner nature.. I’ve always known it, but like most of us, have been corrupted by the misdirected “nurture” of busy peeps 🙂 Making a return to my true self was however WAY easier than I realised 😀

    Thanx for helping us remember..

    xox

    PS: I love that Cal Newport (quintissential supporter of all things scientific and logical) got referenced on a LOA site.. looks like Caterina Fake isn’t the only one eschewing multidisciplinary approaches to life 🙂 Apparently your very astute readers are using all four quadrants of their brains too! 😀 AWESOME!!

    Kinda “coincidental” you think this inspired post happened a day after the 11.11.11 gateway opening? 😀 Perhaps you got “inspired” on that very day? 😀

  23. Julie Masters says:

    LOVE the youtube MissyB! It’s now on my favorites list–Thanks for posting it!

  24. Leah says:

    [MARKED AS SPAM BY ANTISPAM BEE | Server IP]
    Love this post Jeannette,

    I’ve been playing with how it feels to bask in the savoriness of being in wordless mind state and dropping all expectations.

    It’s effortlessly beautiful.

  25. Leah says:

    [MARKED AS SPAM BY ANTISPAM BEE | Server IP]
    Love this post Jeannette,

    I’ve been playing with how it feels to be an a wordless state of mind and dropping all expectations.

    It’s effortlessly beautiful.

  26. Janette says:

    Ooh, SUCH a good post!! I wasted a few hours this morning agonising over the best way to do nothing. ROFL – seriously, my overachieving inner Saturn was ONLY prepared to let me do nothing if I did it PERFECTLY – better than anyone else on the planet – or at least, in a way I could win a trophy for.

    LOLOL!!!

    At least I knew enough to know that wasn’t going to cut it 🙂

    Eventually, got back to trusty Dan Howard for some intentional resting, then spent 30 minutes teaching myself Egyptian hieroglyphics (yeah, I know how to have fun!), wrote a one-page proposal thingy I’d been putting off and NOW….. I’m off to do nothing.

    For reals this time.

    I might fall asleep and “miss it”. I might get so bored by my own brain in five minutes that I have to get up and do something. But all these fabulous comments on top of your fabulous post have finally allayed Saturn’s pressure by reminding him (me!!) that earning and value are only linked with action because I believe they are.

    Oooh. Lovely!

  27. Bama Girl says:

    I did this yesterday. We got home from church, went for a walk, then came back home. I wasn’t feeling well so I laid down. After a little while of thinking I should read something or do some sort of quiet activity, I just kept laying there. And finally I fell asleep. So I guess my do nothing turned into a something – a nap – but it was apparently a something I didn’t even know that I needed. And I felt much better when I woke up two hours later.

  28. April1800 says:

    [MARKED AS SPAM BY ANTISPAM BEE | Server IP]
    This is my first comment on this blog and I, too, woke up with a sense of what to do. My life has been spiraling up, down, up down….I’m exhausted!! Then I read this. I can do this. I actually had said to myself before I read it, “I want to do {insert expletive] nothing!”

    Eventually, I want a puppy.

  29. Jeannette! I LOVE this post!

    I think literally doing nothing is not talked about enough! What’s so amazing about doing nothing vs. distracting, working thoughts, etc.? It allows you to hear messages from your inner wisdom/higher self telling you exactly what your next inspired action is. Without the doing nothing part, you might miss the inspired action mission messages! Which means you waste time with actions that don’t serve your manifesting mojo.

    Ever since I added a little doing nothing into my life, my manifesting took a huge turn for the better. Thanks for this great post!!

  30. Leigha says:

    oooh…I LOVE this too!! I agree…doing nothing is NOT talked about enough 😉 I’m going to start “doing nothing” right now 🙂

  31. Cindy says:

    I absolutely love doing nothing. It comes naturally and is very necessary for me to feel good. Never understood the doer types 🙂 Now if I can just learn how to use this nothingness to manifest like the article suggests, it would be golden!

  32. Matt says:

    I love this article. How do you deal with things that need to be done, but aren’t particularly enjoyable. I was thinking specifically of housework :/

    Any advice on how to keep a tidy house in a slacker fashion?

  33. Julie Masters says:

    Ooh, I’ve dealt with this one Matt!

    First of all–I would question “need” as a word choice. “Should” and “need” always push the button of my, “You can’t make me!” self. Second, I would question my beliefs about what “enjoyable” means. I’ve recognized that fun, joy, and satisfaction all have their own different, and sometimes subtle, qualities, but are all positive and “enjoyable”.

    So, my slacker housework style combines a bit of, “Do I HAVE to do this, and to what degree?” That loosens up the resistance. Then I “do nothing” until I feel the impulse to actually clean (if that NEVER happens for you, maybe you need to manifest a housekeeper :)) I then take the actions with the intention to do them in a way that feels fun or satisfying in some way. When the cleaning is done, I usually really enjoy the way it feels, so I milk that for all it’s worth, and plugging into that vibration usually helps when I do it again!

    This actually works for me with a variety of activities that may appear undesirable on the surface.

    Happy cleaning!

    Julie Masters

  34. Parul Bhargava says:

    Okay, so I gotta share my success stories of doing nothing and manifesting really cool stuff.

    So I am a freelancer and my last assignment ended on 31st October. Since then I’ve been spending my time doing yoga and napping! And it is some serious napping.

    Some (including my family) believe that I should be networking again and looking for work, but well, I believe and very strongly so that “work comes to me”!!

    And so, all I’ve been doing is chilling these past few weeks and especially this last week has been spent napping. Just this morning, I received an email from a client I did some work with some time back, asking to meet her on Monday!!! 🙂 And earlier this evening, I got a message from a friend who also freelances that she has a project and would like me to work with her!!!

    That’s two offers in the same day, all I’ve done is NOTHING!!

    Great post, Jeannette!! 😀

  35. Love it! In yoga, effortlessness is a key part of the practice. Just sitting still and letting yourself be without even being aware of it. Only the greats have mastered this technique but it leads us to a state of Euphoria!

    I definitely find myself bewildered when I have nothing to do and often clutter my time and space with thoughts, books, internet. Funny your pic of the kitten reminds me of my time with my two kittens who just lounge around all day and I sometimes follow their lead!

    Anacostia Yogi
    http://www.anacostiayoga.com

  36. Steve says:

    It’s amazing how the “need” to take action leads us to the frustration of the “cursed hows”.

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