Can you “do nothing” and awaken?


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30 thoughts on “Can you “do nothing” and awaken?”

  1. Biolupus says:

    The ancient hard-to-understand point. I feel that it is the paradox of relaxing. Relax is a doing, but also a non doing. Accelerated as we are, it's not easy at all to simply flow but yet it's simple, it's the simplest. We need to stop accelerating and resisting and just get in the flow, this is action, and at the same time, non action. As Gary and Rich say, get out of our own way. And about the work, I feel the same: my best works are amazingly done only when I am absent.

  2. Gary Weber says:

    Hi Biolupus. Very well said. The amazing thing to watch is just how much better things get done when i'm not doing them. Stillness.

  3. James says:

    Hi Gary I was at your talk in Holland at the SAND conference and was really interested in what you had to say about awakening so I was very excited to find your youtube channel. I wanted to ask you what meditation and yoga practices you find most beneficial? Thanks. James

  4. Gary Weber says:

    Hi James. Great that you found the SAND talk @ Doorn useful. Re meditation and yoga practices, see the videos "Using yoga posture flows for nondual awakening", "Using simple chants for nondual awakening", and "Nondual awakening meditation – Where am I?". you can also download my book free from the link shown in "About" and see many blogposts esp "lying-down meditation", "meditation while walking" , and "What is the 'Direct Path' to nondual awakening" @ the address shown in "About". stillness

  5. MikeRoePhonicsMusic says:

    "Doing nothing" makes absolutely no physical sense.

  6. GongsunXin says:

    sense is for mind

  7. MikeRoePhonicsMusic says:


  8. Gary Weber says:

    Hi MikeRoePhonicsMusic. "Doing nothing" means that there is no one there believing they "do" something, that it just happens "all by itself". If you talk to the best musicians, for example, you will find that they understand that their best "stuff" happens when they aren't there, it just emerges, "all by itself"…they aren't "doing" it.

    Same w/"elite athletes", painters, sculptors, scientists, etc. They have a great learned skill base and then go into "flow" where it happens w/o a doer.

  9. Gary Weber says:

    Hi Jan(ni). Great that you are finding these useful. "Minute 35" is such an important understanding for folk. So many folk have been told they only need to sit for 20 minutes, unfortunately. All that does is to ensure that you will do the hard work, but not get the good stuff which happens after about 35 minutes, as you know. The "sitting high" is some neurotransmitter and it gives the brain some "Wow" to work with as a target. stillness

  10. DOUG MadDog says:

    Hi Gary im 19 and have had no thoughts all my life and have allways seen it as a negitive thing but you have opened my eyes and i want to try use this state as a positive thing also i have never meditated or done yoga is this normal and is there a way to gain normal thinking processes?

  11. Gary Weber says:

    Hi DougLovesBacon. Having no thoughts "naturally" is, unfortunately, very uncommon. i've only met two other folk who had this wonderful state naturally. we do understand some of the neuroscience on how to create it; no one seems interested in undoing it. i don't know anyone who has reached "no thoughts" who wants to "go back". Assume you have problem solving and planning ability. See blogpost "Which is more pleasurable…psychedelics, nonduality, or sex?". URL in "About". stillness.

  12. Thathvam Isi says:

    this makes sense. there are few teachers who say that you have to do nothing to reach the 'enlightened' or 'now' moment. But then you go out of it as soon as the judgemental thoughts come in. Practice helps in taking care of this 'problematic' thoughts and emotions than trying to reach this 'Nothing' state. Most traditions chanting a mantra has been used as a practice tool to calm the mind and reach this 'do nothing' state. What would you say?

  13. Gary Weber says:

    Hi Thathvam Isi. Useful to keep in mind that the "nothing state" is always there and it is anything but "nothing" – it is a vast, sweet Stillness. It is not something that "we" manufacture. This is just obscured, as you point out, by problematic thoughts and emotions that cloud over the sweet Stillness. Mantra/chanting is a great practice. Plz see the blogpost "Using simple chants meditative for nondual awakening" – url in "About". Also uT video "Using simple chants for nondual awakening".

  14. Thathvam Isi says:

    thanks Gary. I saw the chant video. It was quite interesting esp the way you lay emphasis on the vibrations made in the body by the different sounds of the mantra. These are commonly chanted mantras, but i am wondering whether it really matters on what mantras we chant. Could it be anything that pleases my senses?

  15. Gary Weber says:

    Hi Thathvam Isi. Sanskrit is very useful, IME, because as you say, it resonates the entire range of sound vibrations. It is also useful for Westerners as their brains don't "know" it, so they don't try to understand it. Being in a foreign country and hearing another language – it is just background noise. J. Krishnamurti said that "Coca Cola" was a great mantra because it "pleases our senses". Most of these common mantras do as well. Chanting the Sanskrit alphabet is one of my favorites.

  16. Nikan Rst says:

    Thanks for the video. You both used the word "state" in your conversation whereas other non-dual speakers express that this is not a state to be in. What's your take on this concept?

  17. Sm R says:

    Thanks for the video both.
    Just a few things that I'd like to comment on. 
    Gary, you referenced I believe Malcolm Muggeridge as the author of the popular book on deliberate practice, I think you meant to reference Malcolm Gladwell but maybe I missed heard it.

    The other thing is deliberate practice. One of the key features of that practice is a larger technique is broken down and greater emphasis is given to those subcomponent that are the weakest, this is not a natural human response.

    The other interesting thing is the paradox of do nothing. This is not always obvious to the gross mind. E.g, with body scanning one can become aware of some part of the body tensing to thoughts. With practice this reaction can be witnessed in subtler and subtler dimensions, the the re-active relationship between mind-body can be seen. The key importance of this dimension can be seen in traditions such as Buddhism which uses the quote "No-thing should be clung to whatsoever" apparently this was said by the Buddha when he was asked what the key to practice. Identification of thought is the equivalent of putting the car in gear – the need of impulse to do some-thing. The Sedona method seems to give a more modern and very accessible to this approach.

    Somebody else mentioned Katie Byron work. Again, I have found that done properly this can lead to a profound relaxing of the body/mind re-activity when it is realised that there is no 'I' reacting just a conditioning/patterns or habituation.

  18. SmileTV says:

    Thanks for this insights Gary & Rich!
    I'm a late reader of your book (Happiness Beyond Thought) and find it rich of useful techniques to awaken even though i know I'm not there! I have read some of Eckhart, Osho, Maharaj books till i find yours and get this idea that without "INQUIRY" you can't attain self-realization. As of now, almost all the minutes of waking state I'm in a practice of this inquiry. I noticed that this helps me more mindful than any practice I have done before. Though in my heart I know that I am far beyond awakening (maybe because of fear of responsibilities that might be sacrifice out of it) I'm still grateful of the ideas that you've shared to the world. NAMASTE!

  19. Benjamin Schiltz Vlogs says:

    I remember once on stage playing the drums, I usually think about my next move and worry about not messing up or losing time. But this one time I went into a no thought state much like I would in my meditations and then later after the gig people surrounded me asking how I did this and that because I did some sort of solo and the energy was high etc. But I had no explanation for them because I only remember a fraction of it and the rest of the time It was like I fell asleep. If only I could do that in all of my gigs because apparently They thought I was great lol. I seriously only remember the beginning of the song and the rest is a blur. So odd but cool experience.

  20. caroline0566 says:

    20 yrs ago or more I had a profound experience after taking up meditation . One night ,I got down on my knees and completey surrendered to "the universe , God ," In that moment something felt like it was falling away from me ,Like a feeling of clothes being taken off .I went to bed & in my peripheral vision, I saw tiny sparks of light & they were simply beautiful ,The next day I woke it & it was a frosty morning , There was a spiders web outside on the window covered in frost and I was in awe ,It was a feeling of never experiencing a spiders web before ,brand new & beautiful like through a childs eyes .There was only love ,Just love for everyone & everything .Unconditional love and a state of peace continued for many months . And then the ego/ mind came back and a" dark night of the soul" which I can't really believe I survived !!, Emotions came up painful, crazy, Kundalini & charkra sensations have never left me,If I pray or talk about anything spiritual I feel these … I have been too afraid to meditate ever since & I live in a state of fear that bounces between bearable to full blown terror .Thank you Gary ,I have just happened upon your work .

  21. kwixotic says:

    Re: Suzanne Seagall. I have commented on her experience a few times on Batgap because I've had the same experience twice in my life. The first time was quite traumatic actually and occurred following during a period of great emotional turmoil. Following a few weeks of consultation with a psychiatrist I reached a state of "no mind", a thoughtless stillness which was soon followed with a complete loss of self awareness. It was very unsettling to say the least, triggering panic attacks which to me would NOT constitute an Awakening. Then fast forward to a ten day meditation retreat I attended about 25 years later. Same experience but it was characterized by a transcendent, drug like high. Didn't lead to Enlightenment or Self Realization though only because it was just a temporary experience and that's all. I came to best understand these experiences by reading the book "Center of the Cyclone" by the late brilliant neuroscientist John Lilly who was famous for his experiments with dolphins while in an underwater tank.

  22. Frank Gleeson says:

    Stop doing and be awake. Be still and know that I am god. Achieving musical excellencce is not a good analogy as it is more doing. We are always doing doing doing and so we are never here. Just try doing nothing and see how much you are doing. I love these chats by the way, thanks

  23. markrudis1 says:

    In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna instructs Arjuna on the way of wisdom. Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi said that one should seek the self even during sleep, perseverance and effort will ultimately be rewarded. Without effort I would not know these things. I believe the state of Grace that Ramana lived is truly available to all of us, He said as much. Another great conversation!

  24. Honestmicky says:

    Excellent video, thanks for posting, much appreciated. New sub : )

  25. Chris T says:

    Awesome stuff as usual Gary and Rich (Self! 😉 )

    Question: Osho said something like, … better to fix all your external bad habits before letting go completely bc once you let go they wont bother u anymore.

    Im overweight and want to make a business for reccuring income. Now practicing to rest as awareness and self enquiry, chanting and yoga etc.. is my #1 priority and clearly the only thing that really matters in the end. But im thinking to make it 51% priority while making getting physically fit, helping family and making a business 49%.
    Does this make sense? or should i just focus 99% on letting go (i have no real obligations like children so basically just need 1% to feed myself, other 99% could potentially be dedicated to living in a monastary and doing self-enquiry) or should i do them in tandem, and just try to bring presence
    To my actions but still start new projects?


  26. ILikeBSG says:

    Gary- I was watching your videos two nights ago and you were talking about letting go and surrendering. I had a rush of images and thoughts of my parents, and the house I lived in when I was 9. Then I felt like I was going to vomit and I felt a lot of pain And I fell asleep. I woke up and everything was different. Walking to the kitchen for coffee seemed like a dance and things seemed like an undelineated bubble and everything felt effortless. Since then the feeling hasn’t been so strong, but it’s still there and I feel I can return to it more easily than before. Do you know what this feeling is? Is it just a dopamine kick? When it happened I was thinking of releasing all my pain. Thanks.

  27. DJ Mileski says:

    Thank you guys, for this Supreme Nothing!👌🏼 (no sarcasm)

  28. DJ Mileski says:

    Maybe Gary got to 10,000 hours faster because he didn’t limit his “doing nothing” to just sitting in the cushion but rather at all awakened hours🤔

  29. TheJooberjones says:

    Hi gary, ive found myself flickering in and out of enlightenment over the last year or so, it seems to rise up in moments of acceptance and surrender sometimes staying for days or weeks at a time, then subsiding as a result of the mind re-entering and trying to control again. The latter seems to come about in times of “serious” financial situations which involve me doing things i really dont want to do for the sake of survival. Enlightenment seems to be this flower in me which will blossom in the right conditions, but wilts away when it knows it cannot survive, or I guess the mind convinces itself it wont survive.

    This is rather frustrating as I see the splendor of this beautiful transformation but its so extraordinary and unaccustomed to me that I struggle with the adjustment of it and how i would continue on other than wandering around like a hobo eckhart tolle style?

  30. Michael Devlin says:

    Hi Gary. This seemed like an apt place to mention i met Tony Parsons yesterday and mentioned you to him! He seemed to have difficulty remembering you but i didn't mention your past encounter (at SAND?)…

    It is/was somewhat dumbfounding to hear him talk about doing nothing to awaken. During his talk, people continually brought up his past and he seems to still believe there was no correlation between his sadhana and his now state of "no I". This leads me to a question…

    With folk you've worked with, have there been discrepancies between A.) Reaching a state of (near-persistent) nonduality and/or B.) Reaching a state of no thoughts. To clarify, do some folk experience A without B or vice-versa and kind of 'settle' there? And does one usually precede the other – and if so, which? i'm curious whether folks like Parsons are simply living in A without B, and see thoughts as just 'things that arise in consciousness without a center' to paraphrase the bulk of contemporary neo-Advaitans! 😉 i may go to one of his talks again and try and get him to clarify this.

    i hope your typing hands are doing better (though they aren't yours really anyway). From me, and The Ramana Maharshi Foundation in the UK, much भक्ति to you and Ramana always.

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