More Proverbs: Music On It, Doing Nothing & Being.

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Alright, in the spirit of my somewhat well-received article containing nine self-written Proverbial rules pertaining to life that I posted couple weeks ago, I'm getting back to a few more little ol' Proverbial sayings. Each of these will very likely be fleshed out into a full article over the course of the next year, but are just too tasty of a mind morsel to keep to myself for now…

…speaking of which, if someone hasn't bought “” yet, you should.

Last week, I went a bit overboard and gave you nine “deep thoughts.” That was a bit much to take in, so I'm simply sharing three today. Here we go…

Proverb 10: “Music on it.”

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that your brain is like an orchestra or a supercomputer. Well, you can consider music to be the medium via which your conscious self can tap into the vast complexities hidden within the subconscious.

What do I mean by that? It's probably best explained through this simple exercise.

Find a deeply inspirational music track without lyrics (such as the Soaking Worship channel I describe here), begin to play the music through a good set of headphones, then lay on your back in a comfortable and quiet place with an eye mask on and breathe, preferably in a relaxed pattern that matches the cadence of the music (e.g. 1-2-3-4 in, 1-2-3-4 out).

Now, put your subconscious to work. Recall a pleasant memory from childhood. Replay it in your mind. Process it. Observe your response.  Recall a painful moment from last week. Replay it in your mind. Process it. Observe your response. Recall something you are grateful for, from the past few hours. Replay it in your mind. Process it. Observe your response.

Finally, ask yourself a question you've been puzzled by, such as a workplace conundrum, a personal struggle, or a parenting or relationship issue, then listen to the music and breathe as your subconscious chisels away on the issue and your conscious waits for the response to come back to your rational, logical, and aware mind.

Spend four to six minutes on each of the exercises above (which will require you to be laying there for around twenty minutes or so, though I've personally done this music-meditation exercise for up to three hours!).

See, the music serves as a connectivity device between the portal of your conscious and your subconscious. By following the stream of music with your breath, you can tap into memories and solve problems in a similar way you might when unconscious and dreaming. It’s a very interesting phenomenon, and I recommend you experiment with it.

(PS: If you are a “substance” user, you can deepen and enhance this entire experience with a small dose of intranasal or oral ketamine, a microdose of LSA or LSD, or a medium-size dose of psilocybin.)

So there you have it: when it comes to solving problems, processing trauma, memory recall, and more, you can sleep on it, you can walk on it, you can pray on it, and you can now music on it.

Proverb 11: Do nothing.

This may seem paradoxical to my recommendation above for a musical experience, but you should also consider the fact that we humans are probably one of the very few, if not the only, creatures with the conscious ability to completely “empty” our minds.

Sitting and doing nothing can be incredibly refreshing, but this mind-emptying muscle must be trained. To do so, you must have at least one period of time during each day where you sit and do nothing. This doesn't have to be a long sit; one minute will do, and five minutes is more than enough.

When I do this exercise, I like to imagine I'm a leopard in a tree laying silently in wait for prey, or a sniper in camouflage laying for forty-eight hours to assassinate, or (if you'd prefer a less violent analogy), a jellyfish hovering motionless in the midst of a rolling ocean. There are legends of mysterious yogis who can sit like this and consciously lower their heart rate below 30 beats per minute (which would probably get you diagnosed with bradycardia at the average doctor's office or hospital).

So I sit. I think of nothing. I ponder nothing. I do nothing. Eyes closed, I embrace pure darkness and nothingness. I don't observe my thoughts because I'm not even thinking about doing that. When I finish (and again, I only do this for one to three minutes, and am not really able to do much more than that), it is as though a flood of new thoughts rush into my fully refreshed brain. It's a bit similar to “blood flow restriction” training: you cut off the blood flow to a working muscle, then when you finish the workout and reintroduce the blood, the blood rushes in and the refreshed muscle feels alive and unstoppable.

As you can imagine, stopping, sitting, and doing nothing (no breathwork, no meditation, etc.) is a fantastic way to “step away” from the day's stress, give you a cortisol reboot, and infuse you with new creativity and mental energy.

Proverb 12: Keep being.

In many other articles, I have harped upon the importance of doing less and being more. But, unless you're practicing Proverb 11 from above, being doesn't mean you're not doing anything. It simply means that you are doing something (other than work) while fully present and immersed in the activity.

Essentially, being is leisure. In fact, I was recently reading an article (yes, you should read it too) about the Pyramid of Leisure, and came across this wonderful quote:

“Who was the happy man? He painted a picture; he sang a song; he modeled in clay; he danced to a call; he watched for the birds; he studied the stars; he sought a rare stamp; he sank a long putt; he landed a bass; he built a cabin; he cooked outdoors; he read a good book; he saw a great play; he worked on a lathe; he raised pigeons; he made a rock garden; he canned peaches; he climbed into caves; he dug in the desert; he went down to Rio; he want to Iran; he visited friends; he learned with his son; he romped with his grandchild; he taught youth to shoot straight; he taught them to tell the truth; he read the Koran; he learned from Confucius; he practiced the teachings of Jesus; he dreamed of northern lights, sagebrush, rushing rivers, and snow-capped peaks; he was a trooper; he had a hundred things yet to do when the last call came.”

It reminds me of a similar quote by Robert Heinlein:

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.

We live on a magical planet. You don't have to do it all (which is mentally exhausting), but you likely could benefit from being with leisure just a bit more, particularly, productive leisure that doesn't necessarily involve TV, screen time, and entertainment, but that does allow you to take a step away from all the doing and discover a bit more being. Do-be-do-be-do-be as the old song goes.

I will eventually expand all the thoughts above into full-blown articles but thought that for now, I'd simply share with you the type of thoughts that come across my head each day, that eventually do become articles or books. Leave your thoughts, comments, feedback, or your own helpful sayings below. I read them all. 

Also, tell me how you're going to do a bit more being today. :)

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4 thoughts on “More Proverbs: Music On It, Doing Nothing & Being.

  1. Cindy says:

    I absolutely love these reminders of doing nothing, being, and the music on it. I can totally understand how you’d do the latter for up to 3 hours! I could spend much of my days like that! My challenge is creating time to do more of less, focused in a meditative state since I am taking care of my active 8 year old grand daughter. Do you involve your children in any of these practices?

  2. Pam says:

    Enjoy your words. It is always good fo get out of our own heads and learn from others.

  3. Vange Johnson says:

    Spot on and jolly good words Ben!
    The sheer thrill of ‘do-ing’ great work in this life fills my cells with incredible satisfaction, but without ‘Be-ing’ it’s easy to forget the ultimate purpose in it all! How appropriate that we are called Human Beings not Human ‘Do-ings’. I’ll admit it can ruffle my feathers to be ‘still’ when driven, but an essential practice to keep life in check! Your words have become a double bladed sword with an echo from Pslams: ‘Be Still ……. and know that I am God!’

  4. Stephanie Soderquist says:

    Many thanks to you Ben! Going to BE by going out watch and listen to the trees swaying in the wind out here in Bailey, CO.

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