Say nothing doing to doing nothing

The idea of doing nothing often catches the fancy of those who want a retreat from the rush of materialistic life.

And our culture does keep us too busy for our own good, as the alarming statistics of stress and hypertension testify. But is doing nothing the solution? Not really.

Staying actionless for long is neither palatable nor possible. Even if we somehow still ourselves physically, our mind will stay active. And physical inactivity may even cause all our passionate energy to get concentrated on the mind, thereby leading to mental hyper-activity and even stress.

Inaction serves at best only as an exit from entangling worldly action, not as an entry into liberated existence proper.

Moreover, being inactive is unnatural – both spiritually and materially. Spiritually, we are at our core souls meant for eternal love with the all-attractive Supreme, Krishna. That love is active, expressing itself through selfless and ceaseless service. So our spiritual nature is to be active in service. No doubt, some spiritual paths recommend inaction. But such inaction serves at best only as an exit from entangling worldly action, not as an entry into liberated existence proper.

Materially, we are shackled in a body-mind complex that has its own nature. The Bhagavad-gita (03.05) asserts that the modes corresponding to this nature constantly impel us to act, making doing nothing impossible. Therefore rather than wasting our energy in attempting the unnatural and the impossible, we can redirect it from self-centered materialistic activities that exhaust to Krishna-centered devotional activities that enliven.

Devotional activities are supremely fulfilling, but till we become purified, they can seem demanding. So while practicing devotion, the seeming comfort of doing nothing may tempt us. But by understanding our spiritual and material nature, we can say a firm nothing doing to that temptation and thus practice devotion wholeheartedly. This will, by Krishna’s grace, grant us higher taste and ultimately elevate us to the arena of ecstatic eternal activity.

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