“Just sit there and do nothing!” This was Mom’s stern directive when she made my sister and I sit on separate chairs in the living room when she was fed up with our picking at each other. It certainly wasn’t a invitation! We often heard instead: “Get busy!” “Keep moving!” “Hurry up!” “Quit daydreaming!” Action, productivity, forward motion, work ethic. “Don’t you want to MAKE something of yourself?” The invitation,“just sit there” might seem counter cultural because it ISN’T about doing. And this is exactly the point!
When you take your seat, you enter into being, not doing
When we take our seat, we enter into being, not doing. How much of our lives are about what we accomplish? Jon Kabat-Zinn reminds us, “We are human BEINGS, not human DOINGS.” It really isn’t about the doing. The simple act of sitting down is the signal to our minds and bodies to stop whatever was occupying our thoughts and actions, to settle and to calm. When we meditate, we know we are sitting, we know we are breathing and we finally become aware of the life we are living – moment by moment – instead of the frantic doing that fills much of our daily life.
The power of intention
The power of intention comes when we make a conscious choice to change. I made a very deliberate decision to start a meditation practice in earnest. I made an intention, a commitment, to shift my attention from endless “doing” to purposeful “being.” I changed. I began to pay attention. I felt my heart soften. Ralph Ellison, American author and scholar, best known for his award-winning novel, Invisible Man, wrote, “It takes a deep commitment to change and an even deeper commitment to grow.” The sit-ins of the Civil Rights Movement brought about great social transformation. This is what happens when we take our seat – we change, we shift, we open.
The wisdom of taking our seat
The simple act of taking our seat has the power to harness the deep wisdom within each one of us. We wait. We listen. We pay attention. Our minds and bodies reveal this innate wisdom we so often ignore. When we take our seat, it is an invitation to know ourselves more intimately, to care for ourselves more completely, to be present and open to insights that we simply don’t consider.
So, what’s stopping you?
So, what’s stopping you? The endless “to do” list? The never emptying inbox? The invitation is here: Take your seat and change the world!