doing nothing, hanging out, dr. manvir singh

The lost art of doing nothing.

We seem to have forgotten how to perform one of the most popular behaviors throughout human history, nothing. The closest we come to it these days is sleeping or resting. But when was the last time you did absolutely nothing?

When was the last time you stared out of a window for a long period of time? Can you remember the last time you sat in a park and just looked around? Have you ever just laid on your back and looked deep into the sky?

We live in a world where something is expected of us every moment. Either we’re working, socializing, cooking, cleaning, eating, drinking, traveling, scrolling through social media, or watching television. We’re always going somewhere or trying to get something.

We live in a culture that abhors doing nothing which is evident in our frantic work schedules and constant need to be entertained.

Imagine if you had the monk-like peace of mind to just put a stop to all of the doing and lived completely in what Eckhart Tolle calls “The Now.” Seems impossible, right?


In the “Tao Te Ching,” philosopher Lao Tzu challenges people to balance all of the something they’re constantly up to by also learning to embrace the nothing. “When nothing is done, nothing is left undone,” the philosopher famously said.

Dr. Manvir Singh, a research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse and a Ph.D. from Harvard’s Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, called attention to our inability to do nothing on Twitter recently.

Dr. Singh shared a tweet thread that highlighted a study from the ‘70s and ‘80s in small-scale non-industrial societies where researchers noted activities people engaged in throughout the day. The shocking fact—at least from today’s perspective—is that idling or “doing nothing” was one of their favorite activities.

The tweet thread was an eye-opener for many people who’ve been birthed into an existence predicated on productivity.

Ready to get started doing nothing? I’ve found that one of the healthy byproducts of regular meditation practice is learning to appreciate doing nothing. A simple mindfulness meditation practice (which you can easily learn here) teaches you to set aside ponderous thoughts and to feel fulfilled existing in the moment without having to be productive or entertained.

In the Western world, we are constantly searching for a sense of fulfillment. In the Eastern philosophy of Taoism, a person can only be filled if they are first empty. So by taking the time to empty ourselves of sensory input, ponderous thoughts, or the desire to go somewhere or do something, we are opening ourselves up to new possibilities of fulfillment.

As the Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu once said:

Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub;

It is the center hole that makes it useful.

Shape clay into a vessel;

It is the space within that makes it useful.

Cut doors and windows for a room;

It is the holes which make it useful.

Therefore profit comes from what is there;

Usefulness from what is not there.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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