Living beyond discipline
Non-doing essentially, is nothing but ‘Living in No-Goal’.
The modern Western trainers ranging from Antony Robbins to Zig-Ziglar would be the first to refute this logic. They stress upon goal-setting & holding highly specific visions. Not taking any credit away from them, these trainings have their own place but without the backdrop or the framework of ‘Living in No Goal’ such techniques can only backfire. They may make us successful for a short time but often at the cost of making our lifestyles only more stressful than before. They make us too much of a go-getter. However, with the backdrop of a life in non-doing, these techniques surely are useful.
Let us now have a peep into the Eastern wisdom. Let us reflect upon a statement by Chaung Tzu, the disciple of Lao Tzu who was the founder of Taoism, a Chinese way of life. He says : A good traveller is the one who has no fixed plans and has no intent of arriving.
In order to comprehend this statement, let us first understand a few concepts :
A human being is a body-mind-spirit complex. Intellect lies in the realm of the mind & Intuition lies in the realm of the spirit. Intellect is a function of the conscious in us & Intuition is a function of the super-conscious.
There are two ways to live in life. One may choose to live by intellect i.e. by his plans, his goals or with a strong cause. This is the Western way of living, an aggressive way of functioning.
The East has a higher technology, that of an intuitive way of functioning in the world. Here one moves in alignment with the plans of the cosmos and gives little importance to his own plans, his own wants & desires. As seekers, we should strive to live along these lines.
In a planned way of life , you know for sure what you are going to do next or where you are going to go next. Our lives are totally predictable, within the domain of the known. A plan is like a rehearsal & hence the freshness or excitement of the unknown is missing.
However in an intuitive lifestyle you yourself can’t tell what you will be doing next or where you will be going next! You are a mystery to your own self. You are always in the unknown. You are most unpredictable to yourself as well as others. Not that such a person doesn’t use his intellect & plan things in advance but he finally gives equal preference to his inner voice.
He models his life along the lines of a happy-go-lucky wanderer. He may start from one place to go to another but on the way if he finds something more enchanting, he will just chuck the old destination with gay abandon. For him the journey is much more significant than the set goal. His dedication is to his enjoyment & not to his accomplishment.
It is like this: If in the middle of a working day, you feel like going to the theater and watch a movie, just go ahead with it. If a good old friend is back in town & calls you up, just cancel that appointment, simply go & meet him. Make plans but keep them loose. In the intuitive way of life, spontaneity is of as much value as focus & consistency are. We can’t afford to let our pocket planner always be more important than the callings of our heart.
A person living in such spontaneity is like a leaf that is freely flowing in the wind. He goes where the wind takes him. He has nothing to do, nowhere to go. He trusts in existence and simply moves with it. He sets no goals or makes no demands. He at the best knows what he wants but he also knows that only God knows what he needs. He trusts the universal mind much more than his individual mind. In a certain way, he has no individual mind of his own. He is simply a no-mind.
This is what non-doing is all about. Such a person who operates from his intuition & not the intellect alone is the true non-doer. The main attribute of such a person is his spontaneity & his playfulness.
A non-doer follows the dictates of his body and knows that a body has an intelligence of its own. He lives by no discipline but only by his instincts. He eats when hungry, drinks when thirsty, meditates when he feels like and sleeps only when sleepy.
He lives in absolute indiscipline. His body clock has no relation with the external clock. Adhering to a strict discipline appears like another goal-orientation to him. A non-doer is not ‘indisciplined’, he is actually ‘beyond discipline.’
Unpredictability, inconsistency and indiscipline are generally seen as negative traits in a person. They truly are. But they are also the embellishments of a non-doer. He consciously espouses these traits. However it does not imply that anyone who is unpredictable, inconsistent & indisciplined is an accomplished non-doer.
A non-doer loves to indulge in purposeless activity. He knows that words like ‘purpose’ or ‘cause’ are simply goals in disguise. We all worship purpose but a non-doer relinquishes it. He knows that work alone can have a purpose, play cannot. A mission can be purposeful but a play is purposeless. We play for the very sake of playing. He knows that all springs of life lie in purposeless play and not purposeful missions. A master well-versed in non-doing will also abandon the message that he wishes to give to the world if it becomes a serious affair and comes at the expense of his playfulness. His life is nothing but one long leela.
A non-doer is not aggressive, he only waits and receives. In this way, he is not masculine, he is feminine in his basic approach. He doesn’t interfere with the natural course of events. He simply allows matters to unfold in their most natural style. He doesn’t get into ‘making things happen’. This would be goal-orientation. He simply ‘allows things to happen’. This is Samadhi.
A non-doer rests in inaction. In fact he may occasionally choose to rest in prolonged physical inaction. He may be perceived as lazy, but his laziness has a certain quality about it. There is a statement from Ashtavakra Mahagita which is very difficult to understand. It states that a lazy man is the highest amongst people (Aalasi Shiromani). A non-doer is a fitting example for it. A conventionally lazy man is not ready for action, hence he is in inaction. A non-doer has transcended action itself, hence he too is in inaction.
Having read this, one might wonder as to how do things get done without a tightly-held plan & a purpose, without absolute discipline. It’s a valid question.
However there is an entirely different set of mechanics which is at work here. It is said that : ‘In non-doing we do nothing, but nothing remains undone.’
A non-doer aligns with the cosmos rather than asking anything from it. He knows that just like the Eureka of Archimedes, it is in his most non-aggressive moments, in moments of utter relaxation, that his heart’s deepest longings shall effortlessly bear fruit. In fact unlike a go-getter he is himself surprised to see how all he always wanted is automatically happening all around him.
In fact, when we operate without a dogged goal, with the instinct of nothing to do & nowhere to go, tremendous grace descends upon us. Once our non-doing is deep enough, there is sheer magic all around. All that we have always longed for simply unfolds & we can be in nothing but deep awe of all the positive happenings in our life.
Try it once. For all you know, non-doing could do much more for you than doing ever can!