Doing Nothing… Insight From Martha

TailLob2Yesterday I went whale-watching with my son Adam and my partner Karen. It was a beautiful day, and there were humpbacks everywhere. Aside from the slight injuries I sustained being elbowed by other tourists, it was awesome.

Of course Adam had his own odd way of whale-watching, which consisted of sitting on the boat with his eyes closed for three hours. Whenever I asked him something (“Don’t you want to see the whales?”  “Don’t you want some water?” “Don’t you want to elbow a tourist?”) he’d shake his head briskly, wide awake. When I asked him what he was doing, he said he was “feeling ALL the sea animals.” As one does.

This illustrates a paradox I’ve noticed this month: Sitting still is incredibly powerful. Recently I’d been hankering to meditate more, and I can’t sustain a good hanker, so I started sitting more often, and for longer time periods, than ever before. This has had a weird result. Slowing down has caused everything I do to happen faster.

Every day, after meditating for an hour and a half, I get up and observe my body as it does chores. Then I watch my brain and body together writing, teaching, or answering email. I don’t feel as if I’m doing it, and it happens bizarrely fast.  All my life I’ve felt rushed, but the more of nothing I do, the more I seem to feel my way through the ocean of tasks we all face.

This month, especially if you have a lot to do, try doing more of nothing. If you don’t meditate at all, try 10 minutes a day. If you do meditate, double your time. Then notice the velocity at which things get done. If you don’t notice an improvement in a week, quit. But give it an honest try.

Lao Tzu says, “When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.” I’m finding this to be almost magically true. 

Do it—that is, don’t do it—and see for yourself.

Give It A Rest — And See What Happens…Insight from Martha

Warning to all those who think that resting is out of the question when you’ve got goals to achieve! Last June, I began getting an insistent message from a variety of sources telling me that the time has come for those who wish to heal the world to paradoxically move forward through rest.

I have suspected this for several months, but I wasn’t sure quite what this meant or how to do it. For me, rest has usually meant working (playing) until my eyes crossed, then collapsing into a coma for a few hours. Then, just when I needed the information, a teacher appeared in the form of Dan Howard, a wonderful Team member who spends his life developing and teaching a technique he calls “intentional resting”.

In a few minutes, Dan took me through some basic resting exercises, which seemed similar to other relaxation exercises, but for some reason created dramatically different effects in my body and mind. We’ll walk through one of these exercises in a moment, but first I want to say that using Dan’s resting techniques consistently has suddenly increased my ability to manifest the things I want to experience. In that sense, I have come to believe that resting deeply and deliberately is more than a nice idea. It is powerful magic!

Here’s your first intentional resting exercise:

Step One: Scan your body and find an area where you’re holding pain, discomfort or tension. For a few seconds stop reading this and imagine all your attention flowing into this stressed out part of your body. Allow the sensation of discomfort to grow until it fills your awareness. Then come back.

Step Two: Repeat step one, but this time, silently give your stressed out location the suggestion, “relax.” Then meet me back here.

Step Three: Note any changes that occurred in your stressed out area in response to the command to relax. Now, return your attention to that spot and this time mentally give it the invitation “rest.” Continue to invite the area to rest for at least 30 seconds, then return back here.

Step Four: Notice any changes, brief or lasting, that accompany the invitation to rest. Common experiences may include a sense of softening, or melting, diffusion of energy, lessening of stress symptoms, or nothing at all. No right or wrong answer – just observe. 

Step Five: Send your attention into your stressed out area once more. This time, slowly switch back and forth between the words relax and restNotice any differences.

This is the basic format to achieve resting as opposed to relaxing.  The two are not identical. If you felt a positive response to the word rest, try scanning your entire body while slowly and gently stating “I am resting for my feet now; I am resting for my legs now; I am resting for my heart now;” and so on. Put special attention on areas that are in pain or in distress.

Then you can begin applying rest to non-physical aspects of yourself. Try stating “I am resting for my fear now; I am resting for my perfectionism now; I am resting for my troubled past now; I am resting for my future now.”

Then choose one thing you are trying to manifest into your material experience — good health, a relationship, more money, friends, whatever. Spend 30 seconds resting for these things: “I am resting for the friends I am about to meet now; I am resting for my bank account now; I am resting for my good luck now.”

As simple as this exercise obviously is, I have been flabbergasted by how powerful its effects can be. Not only have I been able to reverse minor infections in my own body, but the people and things for which I rest have been responding in ways that are simply too improbable to be coincidence.

Whatever it is you hope to attract, add a little extra twist by resting rather than forcing the result. The worst that can happen is a wonderful feeling.

A Resting Revolution: Insight from Martha

So, as you know, if you’ve been following my writing and coaching, I’m heavily into helping people reclaim their “true nature.” It is what I’ve always done, but with a new sense of purpose and urgency as change begins to make our habitual ways of behaving obsolete and counterproductive. I frequently review a list of “brain read more…