Perhaps it would be a good idea, fantastic as it sounds, to muffle every telephone, stop every motor and halt all activity for an hour some day to give people a chance to ponder for a few minutes on what it is all about, why they are living, and what they really want.
-James Truslow Adams
From "The Joy Diet," by Martha Beck:
Nothing, nothing at all, is the first ingredient you must add to your life... What I mean is that the best way to break through any barrier is to access a point of perfect stillness in the center of your being, a self deeper than your senses or your mind. We modern, scientific thinkers are rarely taught that such a thing exists, much less how to connect with it. But every ancient tradition holds that from this still core of the self, this infinitely fertile emptiness, springs all that is authentic about you: your identity, your ability to recognize the truth, the real operating instructions for your life.
To do this, you'll have to violate some deeply ingrained cultural rules. We share a powerful collective resistance to nothingness, and feel more virtuous the more somethings we do...The problem is that perpetually doing, without ever tuning in to the center of our being, is the equivalent of fueling a mighty ship by tossing all its navigational equipment into the furnace. Fully occupied by the process of achieving innumerable goals, we lose the ability to determine which goals really matter, and why...
[Practicing nothing] can provide a sanctuary that no one can ever take from you. In the moments when your heart is tired, confused, or broken, when you have no energy to do anything, you'll naturally turn to what your true self is telling you it needs: nothing. This is always a step---usually a first step-that will move you away from suffering toward joy.
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