‘Do nothing and nothing shall remain undone’ Lao Tzu
This quote epitomises a principle that was responsible for my first recovery of ME/CFS. It can seem like a very confusing quote and there are many different aspects of it. But I’d like to describe what it really means to me and why it made such a contribution to my initial recovery and my present well-being.
When you have very limited energy there always seem to be things that need to be done, because there is so little that you’re capable of in a day. This sense of have things that need doing can hang over you and it’s easy to find yourself pressuring yourself to do things when you really haven’t got enough energy to do them. This pressure saps your energy further and just perpetuates the cycle of having very low energy and the sense of always having too much to do.
This quote taught me that when you let go of the need to ‘do’ and just go with the flow of what your body can offer you, all the most important stuff still gets done. And it gets done easily with a sense of not actually having done anything.
In one way you could replace the word ‘do’ in this sentence with ‘expend effort on’. Really, it’s about being effortless, and when you’re effortless it doesn’t feel like doing. This principal taught me to approach everything I did with an attitude of relaxed effortless because that way everything felt easy, and I soon found that I could achieve so much more, even on my bad days, if I let everything be easy.
With any spiritual principle it takes commitment to practise and trust (or maybe faith would be a better word), to truly enjoy the benefits of the teaching. Choosing to trust that I didn’t have to let the weight of ‘what needed to be done’ hang over me, was so liberating and had an immediate impact. It became a really easy choice to make because I was committed to choosing my well-being over all else.
The bottom line of this teaching is about ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’. If you can be present to the moment letting go of worries about the future or information from the past and just ‘be’, your body/mind/spirit will guide you towards holistic wellness which includes contribution or productivity where possible. I found that by being instead of doing, I would feel like doing the things that were most important to me at any time that my body truly had the resources to do it. I didn’t need to threaten myself with a stick to get things done; if my wholeness was aware that something was important I would just ‘feel like doing it’ whenever I truly did feel up to doing it.
So, could you do nothing and trust that nothing will remain undone? Take that weight of your shoulders now!
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