the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, in a life of divorces and businesses and hardships and spinal damage and all sorts of things, is nothing.

doing nothing was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and still is.

I went to my first Zen retreat we’re doing nothing is the absolute epitome of success. But when you do nothing your brain starts to rattle around like a monkey in a cage and next thing you know you think you’re going nuts. Doing nothing? How could it be so hard?

Pascal said that all human problems are caused by the inability to sit quietly in a room by ourselves.

that’s why solitary confinement is a punishment.

but in the Himalayas where I spend a lot of my life solitary confinement is the ultimate achievement. Monks train for years so that they can spend three years, three months, three weeks, three days, three hours or small meditation Hart being fed by an assistant through a crack in the wall and a poo bucket being removed once a day. They are forbidden from talking to anyone and there is very little light in the room. And this they are enthusiastic to achieve. So for one person solitary confinement is a punishment and for another it is the highest achievement.

what is the difference do you think?

there’s a picture on the attached page of what’s called the yoga corpse pose. If you read the ancient Sanskrit text about yoga this corpse pose is the combination of all yoga poses, is called the king. And I guess now in our modern era it’s the queen too. With this pose everything comes to 0. You lie down on the floor and pretend you’re dead. You can even put a warm blanket over you so you don’t go cold like a corpse. There is no breathing technique, there’s no music there is no fluffy slippers nothing just lie down and shut up.

of the thousands of people I’ve coached over the years this corpse pose has been taught to every single person. Six months after the 30 day challenge I always do a review for people on how they’re progressing and one of the funny questions I always ask is how’s the corpse pose going?

it’s nearly 100% guaranteed they have all the things they’ve learnt in the 30 day challenge the corpse pose is the 1st to be dumped. And yet it’s probably one of the most important things we can all practice on a daily basis. Doing nothing. So when you go into one of the Zen retreats and do nothing it’s very painful because we’ve developed a habit of not doing the corpse pose at home. When we turn off the phone and turn off all the phone calls and turn off all the escapes and turn off the TV and turn off our ambitions and turn off our hopes and dreams and we turn off our chatter what we are left with this nothing. And this nothing is spooky.

oh yes it’s very easy on a nice hot summers day to go down the beach and lie in the sun with an umbrella. But just watch people. They pick up the phone. They re-De Borg. They pick up the bottle of water. They fall asleep. They put on the suncream. They go for a swim. They talk to a friend. They complain about the wind. They check the umbrella. And so the activity goes on in which they think they’re just lying down doing nothing. We are so so trapped by the activity of our mind that we almost go insane doing nothing. We are so tensed up and used to being on the go running so fast that there is not a second spare, that when we do get a second spare, we fill it up with talk and coffee with friends and TV and Internet and whatever else we can fill up the empty space with.

I’ve worked with many famous people such as Carlos Santana. When you see people on stage perform like he does you think they are hyperactive. But off stage they are calm and strong and still and they know how to be empty because in this emptiness is where they get their creative spirit from and they learn to lie down in the corpse pose. Yes most of them have a masseuse rubbing their back while they do it but the masseuse knows that they need to create a space somewhere between sleep and awake where the genius they are working on is in stillness.

I’m going to add an audio to this series of a relaxation process. There are many of these on YouTube and other channels on the Internet that are free. It is called yoga Nidra. It is the process of talking you down from the highest elevation of agitation to the peace and tranquility of stillness. I didn’t courage you to make this a daily habit especially after you’ve just done a bit of exercise. If you go for a run you don’t have to lie on the floor if you feel too agitated but if you sit in a chair and do the yoga Nidra process you will recover faster afterwards.

I’m also in closing here in the workbook are linked to one of my books called stillness. It takes about 15 minutes to read if you scan it and that’s probably all I’ve ever done. So I can’t tell you what’s in it except that when I wrote it I really understood what I was writing about.



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