When Doing Nothing is Doing Everything

The man in the red coat sat on the bench.

A dog the color of rust sat next to him. And the two of them, man and dog, watched the ocean.

You could say the man was doing nothing.

He wasn’t clicking on a camera or drawing on a pad. He wasn’t making calls or jotting down notes.

He was sitting on a bench looking at the ocean.

But you could also say the man was doing everything.

His eyes on the water, his body on the bench, he had placed his whole self in the present. And with his whole self, he was watching, savoring this point in time so fully that you could understand how the poets say attention is a form of love.

And it wouldn’t be crazy to think that while others might describe this same moment as ordinary, he might say it was extraordinary. After all, if you really see it, live it, give yourself to it, how you could describe it any other way?

When the man went home, he would have nothing tangible to show for his time. No pictures, no sketches, no emails taken care of.

But he would likely have a renewed spirit and nourished heart. Which seems pretty close to everything we need.

We can zoom all over the world trying to find this. Maybe we’ll locate it, too. But perhaps it is no further away than a seat on a bench and a courageous willingness to give our whole self to this point in time.

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