Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Shifting Operating Systems from Doing to Non-doing Mode

     The default setting for most people is the "doing" mode - we "keep busy", be it working, planning, worrying, regretting, playing, daydreaming. We're always "on the go", be it physically or mentally. Were this "busyness" consistently useful, we'd be amazingly productive. But much of our "doing" is a dysfunctional attempt to avoid existential angst. 
     Through meditation practice we learn experientially that the content of our buzzy heads does not accurately reflect us, nor the world (cognitive defusion). If we sit still, let go of self-talk, and simply engage with our bodies & our external environment directly, in real time, we gradually shift operating systems. We go from a "doing" to "non-doing" mode
     • Buzzy confusion & reactivity is replaced by peace, spaciousness, & wisdom. See: http://mindfulnessforeveryone.blogspot.ca/2013/09/403-mindfulness-wisdom.html
     • Stress is replaced by a sense of being centered. See: http://mindfulnessforeveryone.blogspot.ca/2013/04/313-being-stressed-out-is-optional.html
     • The hurt child is replaced by the wise grandparent. See: http://mindfulnessforeveryone.blogspot.ca/2013/04/311-fearful-child-wise-grandparent-were.html

     Activity in "non-doing" mode continues, but is now directed by a much more evolved operating system (prefrontal cortex) and is therefore in service of long-term allocentric / ecocentric (rather than short-term egocentric) benefits.

     “If you sit down to meditate, even for a moment, it will be a time for non-doing. It is very important not to think that this non-doing is synonymous with doing nothing. They couldn’t be more different. Consciousness and intention matter here. In fact, they are key. 
     On the surface, it seems as if there might be two kinds of non-doing, one involving not doing any outward work, the other involving what we might call effortless activity. Ultimately we come to see that they are the same. It is the inward experience that counts here. What we frequently call formal meditation involves purposefully making a time for stopping all outward activity and cultivating stillness, with no agenda other than being fully present in each moment. Not doing anything. Perhaps such moments of non-doing are the greatest gifts one can give oneself.”
     Kabat-Zinn J. “Wherever you go, there you are. Mindfulness meditation in everyday life.” Hyperion, NY, 1994. 

Steve McCurry   stevemccurry.com

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