Today, we are discussing “nothing” as part of Jamie Ridler’s online bookclub, The Next Chapter on The Joy Diet: Ten Daily Practices for a Happier Life by Martha Beck. “Nothing” is the first menu item of the joy diet.
I approached this chapter with trepidation. I have tried many times to build a meditation practice, but have always found it difficult. What I really liked about this chapter was that Martha Beck broke it down for me in a way I could relate, namely the ticker tape concept (see pages 19-20) where she encourages to view thoughts and feelings as a ticker tape, and to name the emotions each thought or feeling represents.
Once I had that tool to work with, emptying my mind seemed a whole lot easier. I generally do my nothing walking right now, mainly because that makes me feel more focused, but I hope to do it sitting down soon. Some of it is that by naming each thought, that makes the ticker tape manageable.
The other thing I realized is that my walk to and from work is when I already do a whole lot of nothing in terms of thinking. I actively try not to make phone calls or think about things while I do this walk, and make myself focus on things around me, like the sky, the temperature, people-watching. Turning these walks into “nothing” thinking felt very doable. The ticker tape was like the missing part of the puzzle for me.
So I did nothing for most of my walks this week, but I also tried a nothing session while sitting and another in child’s pose. Both were more challenging than the walking meditation but helpful. The most successful part of the nothing exercise was the fact that I found myself craving to do it more.
General Disclosures & Disclaimers