A nothing presence?

Life appears insurmountable more frequently than I want to admit. When I become fully engaged in living, far too many projects and their associated tasks pile up on my agenda until it threatens to topple over and bury me. I can see my epitaph now: “Woman dies beneath projects with ‘to do’ list clutched in hand – multitasking reportedly rampant.”

Humans are programmed to always be “doing” something. Many of us succumb to trying to do two or three activities simultaneously. Even as I write this, I am eating my breakfast. I cannot imagine a moment that I might look around and say, “Hmmm . . . nothing to do.”

But that is exactly what I need to add to my project list: nothing to do.

In his book Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn says that the objective of meditation is to do nothing. We know we will breathe (that’s doing something) and our monkey minds will go off in all sorts of directions no matter what. Kabat-Zinn says just to observe that and focus on our breathing – be aware of that involuntarily movement of air in and out of our lungs. It is still “doing” something but in a way that has no specific outcome, no goal, no finishing place to get to.

Both my shamanic forecast and numerology reports for the month of May indicate that “The creative energy this month is on the edge of being out of control” and “May will most likely be a very stimulating month.” Oh, dear. Time to get busy doing nothing.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

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14 Responses to “A nothing presence?”

  1. holessence Says:

    Barbara – I love your ending, it cracked me up!

    I’m going to print this post and take it with me to read to my students this afternoon when I teach Breathwork. What a great reminder — thank you.

    Laurie Buchanan

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Laurie — the next chance I get to travel to Chicago, I am going to have to get your class schedule and make it a point to come to at least ONE of them. I would love to take a breathwork class. As many people as there are around the DC area, finding the right people to work with is a challenge.

      • Snoopykg1 Says:

        Can I attend too. That would be both enjoyable and a hoot as well! Laurie is a most engaging teacher.

        I find myself doing both, however at two ends of the spectrum, either multitasking with a to-do list and loving it, or kicking back and petting the dog, surfing the internet, going for a walk, or just meditating…

        P.S. I am finaly on again, my husband cut the phone line yesterday when he was edging the yard. The ATT truck came today and fixed the phone line, and then I was on the phone with ATT for about an hour setting up the connection again.



        • Barbara Kass Says:

          Hi, Kim — so sad about your telephone line! And, yes, we should coordinate a visit with Laurie and descend on her simultaneously.

  2. jeffstroud Says:


    Great piece! Conversation with God Books ask this question, “What are you Being while you are busying Doing”? So every moment can be a meditation of Being present of what you are doing!!!

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Jeff — I haven’t read the Conversations with God books yet (on my “to do” list); being mindful and meditative no mater what we are going is such a good idea; just the idea of focusing on one thing at a time makes me less frantic. Thanks for dropping by . . . I know you are a reluctant blogger!

  3. holessence Says:

    Barbara – Here is a link to the updated Breathwork page with brand spanking new photos from today’s class. And yes Kim, you can definitely come too! http://www.holessence.com/0210breathwork.html

    Laurie Buchanan

  4. holessence Says:

    Kim – Yes ma’am! Those are bricks on their tummies. It makes a great (unforgetable) focal point for breathing into your Tan Tien (lower ) instead of your chest. Good eyes!

  5. sandiwhite Says:

    Barbara, I am having a problem with doing nothing, for at least 2 hours everyday I try to do nothing. While I am doing nothing, actually lying with my eyes closed and trying to pretend I am napping, my brain is firing away on all points, snapping like a long string of Black Cats ( Firecrackers). I have even turned my mind to focus on meditation and breathing, it usually causes me to actually go to sleep. I am learning to operate my “OFF” switch, pretty hard for a Type A like me. I am learning to understand that tired doesn’t mean lazy, that if I sit down no ones gives a flip and the chores will be there when I return. It is a new thing, I have not quite tired of it yet, it still has it’s novelty. Of course, I haven’t quite learned how to do it either.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Sandi — you need to read Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn and get the CDs that go with it; the CDs have guided meditations that are about 45 minutes long. He can help you find your way to make those two hours be the best medicine; it is not just during those meditation times either; the book helps people become mindful and meditative in every moment no matter what they are doing.

  6. Snoopykg1 Says:

    Hi Sandi!
    Hope you are doing well.

    My hubby is Type.A…I am Type A minus…

    I have to have some quiet time,especially on the weekends where I am praying, meditating,mulling things over,the I am in a frame of mind to take a nap. I am then refreshed.
    My husband will just have realize that if it has not changed by now,why fight it, Kim needs that time to regroup.



    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Kim — your reflective time is a part of you; it is you he loves. If someone tries to take away my time to write, be alone, or meditate, they meet up with a very grouchy . . . okay, bitchy . . . person who they don’t enjoy as much 🙂

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