On my recent post in which I announced I was off on a break (to India) to try the art of doing nothing, reader Leonie shared the below quote in the comment section (thx Leonie!).
“You will be civilized on the day you can spend a long period doing nothing, learning nothing, and improving nothing, without feeling the slightest amount of guilt.”
Essayist and scholar Nassim Nicholas Taleb is responsible for the wisdom.
The civilized bit is the salient part for me.
Why civilized? I didn’t get it before I left. But after spending four weeks in “nothingness retreat” I fully appreciate the judicious use of the term.
You see, forced to sit with yourself, you have to flay and squirm and cry and rail…with no one to hear you. You leave the hall of mirrors (everyday life) to sit opposite just the one reflection. And what you see is confronting. Oh, and uglyyyyyy!
And so you have to get really, really, really grown up and acknowledge this is it. This is all of it. And that there’s no one to blame. No one to impress. No one to fool with your pride and your puffy chest.
You must find the stillness that can carry you on to the next stage of evolution. You must be so so so grown up and civilized.
Have you done a nothing retreat? Love your thoughts on how you faced your lack of activity. And whether it forced you to buck up and grow up.