We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men (and women) are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have – for their usefulness.
It takes a deliberate decision, and a difficult decision at that, to decide to NOT do something one could do. That is exercising ones ability to choose and it is a choice that can only be made by oneself, alone. Formal meditation is based on a deliberate decision to agree with oneself to not do anything, and then there is the flow of attention, of being finely present. A very private flow, an intimate connecting beyond all reason. We long for intimacy and there it is, right there!
I was thinking of small children when they are found or caught ‘daydreaming’ by their parent or carer and brought out of themselves to ‘go and play with the other children’. So-called daydreaming, being alone with oneself, and thus not usefully being a child doing what children are expected to do is not understood. Or appreciated. No wonder as adults one can feel slightly embarrassed to be ‘caught’ or discovered by accident sitting in formal meditation. Even as a monk I can remember sitting formally in my room and with a knock on the door I’d find myself being apologetic, ‘Oh, I was err…just sitting’!
Yes, we are wired for action, for doing the livelong day. Being with oneself, spending time alone with oneself, not necessarily sitting in formal meditation, has to be a deliberate decision NOT to do something else. Being ‘useless’, resting in uselessness!