Newton's third law of motion states that "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." That is where we are stuck! We want to prove him right every time, and we make sure that we do. Or is it that we don't try to prove him right, but it just happens? Want a real-life example? Go to any of the social media platforms and express your views. Add some flavor of sarcasm to it, and garnish it with some emotions. Wait for a few minutes and see the magic. Your inbox will be loaded with reactions/replies that go against your views, and soon you will be all pumped to punch them in their face. It's not important right now to focus on the reactions/replies, but look at you, look at the anger, that frustration that you are developing within. If you observe yourself in that situation (I am much sure you have faced this situation many times) you will see some energy is rising from your stomach, which burns your heart (chest), and tries to come out through fingers (in form of replies), or through the mouth in form of abuses!
It is not the only incident, there are many that you can observe where you wish to react at each and everything. Is it our fault, or is it the result of conditioning that we have got over the years? At every step of our life, we have been instructed, that we should not sit idly, we should keep doing something, pausing is a sin, should be strong-headed, should make sure that the opposite person agrees to us, should not accept defeat, should not give up, should mold life the way we want, etc. Don't you feel all these things are making us rigid and setting certain expectations within our minds? And, when these expectations aren't met, the first thing that we do is, react!
"Do not learn how to react, learn how to respond." lines by Buddha say it all. What exactly is the difference between reacting and responding? The reaction is something that is not measured, it is like tit for tat. It is the first thing that would come to your mind! Whereas, response to a situation is a measured way of doing something in return to the action. The time gap that we take, to bring mind from reaction mode to respond mode is the phase that I call 'Do nothing' phase.
Let's try to have a quick recap of your life. I want you to think of the times when you have reacted and spoilt things. Be it at a personal level or professional level. And now, just think if you would have taken a small pause before reacting, would the situation be different then or now? Making you regret something is not my motive, but I wish to make you aware of your reactions. The 'do nothing' phase will help to calm your emotions and also the energy that generates when something doesn't go the way you want.
'Do nothing' phase is not just limited to the quick pause that you take before reacting. The idea can be extended to bigger 'pauses' in life that everyone needs but is neglected in the name of multitasking, efficiency, increasing the speed of work, quick decisions, and many more. To sell motivation everyday new terms are added to the above list, and if you meet someone great at vocabulary, she/he will add fancy language and sell it to you. Honestly, if you look around don't you feel the world has become too panicky, overly stimulated, and overly motivated? So much so that, they can't handle it, and end up doing something or the other, in the name of staying occupied and later they regret.
Let me clarify, I am not against motivation, or being energetic. An optimum level can boost productivity manifolds. But in the process of being over-enthusiastic, we are missing out on a very important element that is the decision making power when the mind is at rest. At rest, the mind gets an opportunity to think from various perspectives and we can have a balanced view. Needless to say, calculated decisions are always better.
How to develop the 'Do Nothing' phase? It might sound boring, but meditation is the best way to develop it. People have a wrong notion about mediation, they expect that post-meditation they should feel extremely relaxed, energetic, clear about thoughts, etc. However, that is not the case. Meditation is not about that, it is simply about nothingness. It is meant to accept everything the way it is. Meditation with a goal will always make you restless because you will focus on achieving that goal, whereas the point of meditation is exactly the opposite of that, embracing the present moment.
To end, I would say one thing that, it's okay to take breaks. It's okay to slow down. It's okay to take time. It's okay to sit idle. It's okay to wander. It's okay to let the universe take lead sometimes. It's okay to 'do nothing'.
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