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September 23, 2012 Elephant

Subscribe to our new Daily Wake Up Call: one photo or quote each morning. Put a little gap in the inbox of your mind. Less hype, more ahhhh. Bonus: our partners at Namaste plant a tree with every email—seriously. Share the word?

The Free, Easy, Instant Way to De-stress,
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“Doing nothing isn't easy. It takes a loyalty to the present moment. Doing nothing isn't useless: it's the key to doing anything right."

Here's a practice, like meditation or yoga or prayer, that we all can do, starting now. And I mean "now."

Do nothing. Not always, of course. Not even often. Just sometimes. I was just talking over the vital importance of "nothing" in our lives with a VP at Toyota, the other day—we were discussing the Japanese way of doing business, and I mentioned how I'd grown up studying and practicing Japanese flower arranging, or ikebana. At least a third of an ikebana flower arrangement is space. Nothing.

We can think of our mind, our life, like a flower arrangement. Without some space, there's no room to appreciate any of the beauty or power or utility of all "stuff." Our mind is like a room—cozy is fine, but cluttered makes it hard to do anything.

This may all sound obvious, but most of us multitask constantly. Stop it. When we go to the bathroom, just go to the bathroom. Don't read. Leave the smartphone alone when we're hiking. Turn it off when we're sleeping. A new study just came out reporting that sleep deprivation is at an all-time high in the US. Deep sleep is impeded by any level of alert. So shut down. Meditate. It's easy. It takes a few minutes a day, a few times a day.

And it's practical. Not spiritual. Practical: space in among our thoughts will allow us better ideas, faster solutions, room for innovation, laughter, love and creativity.

I'm not urging that any of us go back to the land, or move to the top of a mountain and wear white. Just give yourself small gaps. Gap. Gap. Gap. And from the gap, our lives shall begin to unfurl in what Buddhists call "auspicious coincidence"—the sort of ordinary magic that is only available to those who are awake to the present, and not merely to our own cluttered discursive minds.

...for a poster of this sort of reminder, click here.

...click here to follow @waylonlewis and elephant on instagram.

Yours,

Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis
editor-in-chief, host
INSTAGRAM: @WAYLONLEWIS
elephantjournal.com, Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis

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