Bonus Link: Why Doing Nothing is the Key to Happiness

Where I will be next week. Lovely

Over at my personal blog, I post links every Friday to random stuff that interests me. Here at this site, I’ll share links every so often that are more specific to the themes of Sabbath, rest, renewal, and play.

A friend shared this one with me recently:

Why Doing Nothing Is the Key to Happiness — Huffington Post

Distracted by email, iPhones, the ping of a new text message, bad news on television and the stresses of work, of relationships and family, it is easy to be overwhelmed, stressed and miss the extraordinary gift of being alive. Our bodies break down under the onslaught of stress — insomnia, anxiety, depression, and all chronic disease is made worse by unremitting stress.

The Buddha was walking down the road shortly after he was enlightened and a traveler saw his remarkable energy. He asked him if he was an angel, a wizard, a magician, or some kind of god. “No,” the Buddha said, “I am awake.”


The post ends with a simple ritual for mindfulness meditation. The title of the post is a bit of a misnomer, because such a ritual is not really doing nothing. Meditation is hard work, as is Sabbath. It’s hard work to train ourselves to breathe deeply and mindfully, whether literally (meditation) or figuratively (a day to simply be).

But his point is well taken. As you can read in the book, Sabbath is not about doing nothing. It is about being awake, and taking time each week (or however often) in which we are not working, producing, controlling, pushing.

I am on my way out of town for more than a week. I’m looking forward to being away—it will be a fun and renewing time, learning new things and experiencing a spiritual reset for my life and ministry—but it is hitting all my shadow side stuff. The book launch was less than a week ago, so it’s book promotion time. There are emails to send! Blog posts to write! Tasks to complete! Amazon rankings to obsess over! Instead, I am going away… not just away, but to a place where phones and Internet coverage are spotty at best.

One of the things I acknowledge in the book is that stuff falls through the cracks on Sabbath. Some folks will tell you that those undone things didn’t need doing anyway, that they weren’t “yours to do.” I don’t believe that. Good opportunities pass us by. The things we leave undone on Sabbath are not trivial. They may have been great, life-giving things.

Still, we keep plugging on in the perhaps foolish, reckless hope that what is gained is ultimately more valuable than what is lost.

With that said… I’ll see you on the flip side.


About MaryAnn

pastor, writer, haphazard knitter
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1 Response to Bonus Link: Why Doing Nothing is the Key to Happiness

  1. rutheverhart says:

    This reminds me of our conversation yesterday about “God’s plan.” Maybe that is just a bumper-sticker way of trying to believe that the truly valuable things don’t fall away. Have a great week away!

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