We don’t always have to find something to do. Sometimes doing nothing can do a lot for us. Staying busy is sometimes a way of running away from something else. Usually ourselves. And sometimes from doing important things that require focus or the ability to overcome fear.
Doing nothing is the starting point for allowing our inner wisdom to be heard. Doing nothing can be a great starting point because it keeps us from doing something stupid or from wasting our time on fruitless endeavors. A lot of silly things happen when we are not more willing to sit and think. Or better yet, sit and not think.
Doing nothing is not necessarily “doing nothing”. We can’t think if we are busy all of the time. We can’t read books and learn from other minds if we are busy all of the time. Some of the smartest and most successful people in the world spend large parts of their day doing what many of us would consider nothing:
Warren Buffett spends most of his work day reading, thinking, and talking on the phone. At home he does the same thing, and he watches football and plays bridge several hours a week. He credits much of his success to the amount of time he spends reading and thinking.
Stephen Hawking can’t move his body, and if it weren’t for modern technology we might think he’s in a vegetative state. But his mind is probably working better than the busiest people we know. And look at what he’s been able to accomplish by sitting and “doing nothing”.
You have the gift of thought, the gift of wisdom, the gift of ideas. Use those gifts. Get familiar with them. You’ll want to distract yourself with other things, because sitting quietly takes some discipline and the world wants you to be busy. But that is what we need to do — sit quietly more often.