Do Something vs. Do Nothing

"Are you keeping busy?" passes for a greeting in some parts of the world.

This peculiar question assumes there is something inherently valuable about being busy and tacitly acknowledges something would be the matter if you were not.

What counts as being busy? How do you define "busy?" If you were to peer into the inner workings of your body during sleep (never mind periods of wakefulness), you would witness a breathtaking and dizzying array of activity—of blood moving this way and that, neurones and synapses firing, and the miraculous regeneration of cells.

In a way, are we not busy all the time?

The question gets at something else though. It's saying that you need to be doing something in order to be okay (or, more to the point, for the other person to feel okay about you).

Where did we get this idea of connecting doing to value and not doing to fault? Do we not feel pressure to be doing something just to meet the expectations of others?

Of course, something is violated if we are constantly receiving and not earning our keep—i.e., if we are not maintaining a healthy give-take relationship with life.

Even if we are, however, you will go through "dry spells" of activity. Where, perhaps, the feeling to do withdraws and the feeling to do nothing arises.

What is the difference?

What is the difference between doing something and doing nothing? Of keeping busy and being still?

There is no essential difference, just like there is no essential difference between the light and dark sides of the moon. You are still being you when doing something and when doing nothing. And that is no small matter.

Doing nothing, especially while walking a path of healing or spirituality, is connected with "coming back." We can get so engaged the world, in our lives, with our children, our family, and our work that we forget about ourselves.

If there was an Original Sin, it is that—to forget ourselves. Not because there is something inherently unholy about it but because when we do, we suffer.

We suffer when we forget ourselves and if we are overly busy, we can easily suffer. So, the soul begins to desire rest and not doing (which is a kind of doing), which helps us come back to the one who matters most.