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Do Nothing Meditation

“Do nothing” meditation is unique to traditional practices by requiring minimal effort and allowing the mind to wander without disruption. The technique's name was coined by meditation teacher Shinzen Young and shared many similarities with the “just sitting” technique called Shikantaza.

Many spiritual traditions, including Buddhism, believe that the highest state of consciousness is present within human beings, and through doing nothing, we can work toward this spiritual awakening. This awakening comes by doing absolutely nothing. Many believe that through doing nothing, you can reach greater wisdom to craft a better life.


What Is “Do Nothing” Meditation?

woman practicing do nothing meditation on a sofaDo Nothing” has been discovered in many cultures and carries many names, including Mahamudra (The Great Gesture), Shikantaza, Dzogchen (The Great Perfection), Choiceless Awareness, Open Monitoring, and more. The Tibetan word for “happiness” can be translated as “having control,” while that “unhappiness” is “being under the control of others.” This meditation technique teaches us to let go of too much control, allowing the mind to let go of thinking about a certain topic, keeping track of time, or analyzing our surroundings.

“Do nothing” meditation is almost an anti-meditation. It goes against traditional parameters to keep the mind clear or focused on the physical self and allow it to wander as it pleases. But, it is still a form of meditation. If you notice your mind developing an intention or focusing too hard on something, drop it, and allow your thoughts to continue wandering. In the same way, taking an effortless approach to meditation may lead to some strange thoughts - ride the wave, and enjoy the moment.


What is the difference between do nothing meditation and regular meditation?

“Do nothing” represents an alternate form of standard mindfulness meditation. In other mindfulness meditation techniques, the goal of meditation is to clear the mind into a state of nothingness, where the mind is empty. You must control your attention with intention. Rather than creating a state of calmness by focusing on the breath, visualizations, surroundings, or a specific topic, practitioners let their minds wander without control or disruption. It requires no instruction or a course like many other techniques.


The Benefits of “Do Nothing” Meditation

benefits of do nothing meditationIncreases positive feelings

One study showed that Default Mode Network (DMN) activity, the activity associated with daydreaming, strongly correlates with negative feelings. In other words, preoccupation with the self can make you feel poorly. fMRI brain scans show that allowing the mind to wander for a good time decreases activity in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), promoting positive feelings, and increasing sensations of joy, wonder, and love. The default mode network slows down through regular practice, helping you feel good and comfortable as a human being.


Improves Mental Health

Ultimately, the brain needs downtime to process a day's events, store memories and experiences, recuperate, and ensure it performs at its optimum level. We must look after our emotional and mental health and give our brains the rest they need. Most people eventually.


It helps you work through difficult experiences

While meditating, most people’s minds guide them to analyze a challenging experience from their past. During this, people have the opportunity to focus on this and potentially see it in a new light so they can begin to accept the past.


Improves awareness

Awareness will improve with the practice of doing nothing. It will help you develop a greater sense of the part of your mind that controls attention. Greater awareness sensitivity will allow you to direct your attention and focus on tasks for extended periods.


How to Practice “Do Nothing” Meditation

how to practice do nothing meditationHere are four simple steps to practicing “do nothing”:

1. Begin getting into a comfortable position. This may be sitting or laying down - there is no wrong way. If you are worried about falling asleep, experts recommend to simply sit on a cushion or stool to maintain alertness. Breathing naturally,

2. Allow your mind to wander as it wishes, avoid paying attention to anything specific, and control your attention drop. Just focus on being and nothing more.

3. Let whatever happens, happen. In other words, let whatever sensory experiences happen, happen. Drop intentions if you are aware of an intention to control your focus. If you find yourself specifically intentionally thinking, push through this with an open mind. The more you feel like things are effortlessly happening, the more your DMN will slow down.

4. Practice for 10-15 minutes at a time. This can be longer if you wish as no certain amount that’s  required. However long you choose to exercise your mind, the point is to focus on just doing nothing. There is no end goal, so feel free to conclude when you are content

If you notice yourself falling asleep, try another time again sitting rather than lying down




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What Is "do Nothing" Meditation? - MindOwl.

Do Nothing Meditation - Deconstructing Yourself

"Do Nothing" Meditation ~ Shinzen Young (transcript) - Unifiedmindfulness Wiki

Do Nothing Meditation ? It Might Actually Be Your New Form of Meditation!

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