Practice: Motivelessness. (Time: 5 mins)

I don’t know about you, but my downtime is precious. Whether that’s when I’m on holiday, on days off or just those little pockets of time found during the working week.

In the new Lonely Planet guide book ‘101 Ways To Live Well.’  I give several key meditations to help you get into holiday mode.  ‘Motivelessness’ is one of my absolute favourites and this week i’m sharing my guide to motivelessness with you here on the blog. I do hope it inspires you to enjoy one or two idle moments!

Motivelessness (Time: 5 mins)

• Make a cup of your favourite tea or soft  drink. It’s best to avoid using an alcoholic drink for this activity, at least to begin with. Alcohol, as Chekhov says in his fabulous short story The Bet, ‘Excites desires’. 

• Tuck away your devices and switch them to Airplane mode so you aren’t interrupted by emails

• Take a seat, make yourself comfortable and enjoy a few nice and easy breaths. If you’re feeling quite stressed or uptight, why not begin by practicing the breathing technique here.

• Once you’re sitting down comfortably, that’s it – you have arrived! Don’t try to meditate. Don’t try to relax or be in the moment. This is a time for absolutely no efforting.  Just sitting, and doing nothing. You don’t need to be focusing on anything in particular, yet you’re still aware of whatever you become aware of in your experience.

• Soon, you’ll begin to slowly wind down. New thoughts, new ideas and a new holiday sensibility will blossom within you and begin to spread out like a sunny morning.  No Pina Colada required.

• At some point during this idle time, a desire to do something might pop into your mind. If it does, notice it without judgment and know that you, as awareness, can choose which desires you want to act on and which you don’t. Some desires might be lovely and others might be secretly there to keep you busy-busy when you’re keen to enjoy being idle.

• For instance, perhaps a desire or a thought appears and it says ‘go and look out of the window’ or ‘go and make a sandwich’. Maybe you make that sandwich and sit back down with it. Maybe you don’t. There’s no judgement. The idea here is to practice being motiveless and operating without an agenda. Swapping a racing and achievement orientation for a more spontaneous, motiveless sensibility.

• If you do go ahead and make that sandwich, perhaps you’ll adopt a more leisurely pace of sandwich making than usual. After all you’re not in a rush. Perhaps you’ll notice even more vividly, the satisfying feeling of butter smoothing over soft white bread. Or the fun sound a jam jar makes when it pops open. Or maybe, you’ll be able to put a word around that brief moment of glee when you’re heading back to your chair, about to eat the lovely sandwich you’ve made. Imminent delicious fun!

• Don’t be alarmed if it feels unusual to begin with. This idle orientation is often the exact opposite to how we are required to behave in our usual working hours.  Be patient and let your mind and body rediscover how lovely it can be to be idle every now and again. 

I do hope you enjoyed this short guide to doing nothing on holiday, inspired by my feature in the new Lonely Planet guide book ‘101 ways to live well‘.

If you would like further, practical help relaxing on your travels you might also enjoy listening to the short guided meditations on my audio meditation album ‘RELAX’.