Usually I should be taking action, right? Isn’t that what I was taught at an early age? Fail by trying, not fail by failing to try . Always better to take action and have it not work out than to not take action at all.
If you know me well you know that it’s tough for me to not take action. I’m usually in a perpetual state of motion and action. If you’re not sure about that just ask some of our vacation buddies what I’m like when I’m “relaxed.” I still remember being told while on vacation in one of my favorite places of the world, the Big Island, to “quit pacing, you’re making me nervous” while I was attempting to “relax.” That’s just a part of who I am.
While it is a part of who I am, it is not always the appropriate thing to do. Sometimes inaction is necessary. Once in a while it is better to not take action and remain in a state of inaction. Those moments are particularly difficult for me. My mind starts racing and I want to start moving towards a solution, but I need to use every ounce of my will to pause and stay still.
Tonight at yoga I was reminded of this. As we were wrapping up our practice we got to a point when our instructor told us to stay exactly where we were, to hold still, to not even twitch or squirm in the least. They told us to stay still and hold. My initial reflex was to want to move, but this instruction held me tight. As much as every ounce of me wanted to move I stayed in that pose. The more the seconds went by the more desperate I was to move, just a little, just for a fleeting moment, but I didn’t. As the clock slowly ticked I focused with every ounce I had to keep my gaze locked onto the same tiny imperfection on the hardwood floor, to keep my legs perfectly still, and to not even let a single finger move.
After a long while it actually started feeling great! It was reminding me that I am in control of my actions. If I should take the path of inaction I was reminded that I can do that, regardless of how unnatural it feels to me. Inaction is something that is within my control and I can harness it when I need to. This was helping me practice for those moments, to keep the stillness of mind to not immediately react, to not fold to my reflexes. It was quite liberating!
Inaction is an odd thing to be thankful for, but I really am tonight. By not taking action I was able to remind myself of how my will can keep me on track when I am best served by the path of inaction.