Don’t Do, Just Be—Or Not

If you read books about zen and meditation and self-help, you often hear the advice, “Don’t do, just be” or something along those lines. I was lying in bed yesterday trying to “do” just that, and it occurred to me that the only way to “be” at peace without worrying and stressing and anticipating and regretting is if you have been “doing” things to make your life fulfilled. If I hadn’t done all the things I have done, I wouldn’t feel happy to just “be.” So, in a way, “being” is overrated. And yet it’s a great intermission from “doing” and I highly recommend it as a way to stay calm and centered.

Today, by the way, I returned to my frantic, overtired ways of working in the city all day, then coming back to tutor and e-mail and work work work all evening. It’s now 11 p.m., and I am still working. And this is pretty typical of my life. That’s why I appreciated my “me” day so much. It doesn’t happen very often.

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