"I'm learning real skills that I can apply throughout the rest of my life ... Procrastinating and rationalizing." - Calvin (& Hobbes)
Revisiting the fine art of making bread, and all that involves, I was remembering years ago when I was learning from a macrobiotic teacher how to make seitan.
(Seitan, or 'wheat meat' being the spongy gluten left behind after all the bran of the wheat has been rinsed away...in case you didn't know.)
Seitan-making, like with bread, requires kneading of the dough. The trick for getting the lightest end product, this teacher was showing us, was to put in less time kneading and more time for the rest in between.
Interesting. And how utterly metaphorical!
We're so kneady.
While we are pretty convinced that it's the action we're putting toward something that gives us results, often times it's the inaction that brings on the magic.
So many times I've reminded people (to the point where I've put it in print) that the effects of a shiatsu session may only unfold in the hours and even days after a session.
And how often do I forget this myself...plugging away at a stuck place in a receiver's body in hopes of seeing instant release, while I know that often it takes time and rest for the tissue to respond.
Unschoolers recognize this too. That continual input into a child's brain is not necessary for learning to happen.
In fact, it's the long periods of processing (often mistaken for daydreaming, or the 'doing of nothing' which drives parents batty) that not only allows for retention but for true integration and understanding to unfold.
The common wisdom is that only persistent focus and attention to a task will bring you success, rather than a meandering and distracted path to achieving it.
But there's a lot to be said for the expansive and yin side of things, and only so far that the focused concentrated yang direction can take you.
If you love it, let it go.
While having the concept of sustained effort preached to me as the only path to success, I have to say I've found some positive and interesting results with the occasional abandonment or neglect of a project, goal or task.
Some things just bloom more readily without my hovering and interference.
Call it procrastination, or offering it up to the divine, (or justifying my occasional laziness) but when I'm not mucking things up with an emotional or otherwise attachment to an outcome, stuff happens much more effortlessly and miraculously than I could have ever imagined.
I see two similar but hidden processes here:
1) The internal: the subconscious simmering, fermenting, connecting-making, intuitive prioritizing, awaiting the epiphanies (aka: time out for some shiva nata..)
2) The external, and perhaps a little more woo-woo, depending on which explanation you subscribe to: going with the flow, divine intervention, synchronistic path-crossing, decisions made by default.
Either one, though, requires trust... patience, humility (letting go of the belief that things that can only manifest if I'm intimately involved and controlling the show), detachment, and did I mention trust? And a willingness to allow outcomes to unfold that maybe you didn't consider but could actually turn out be better than what you were striving for.
The actions, if we must define them might take the form of: getting away from a task, or delaying it when it's not flowing smoothly, or allowing time to stew, or rise, or ferment, or as I often joke, putting it off till it becomes irrelevant (because in my experience, there have a number of things I've delayed on that actually managed to resolve themselves - and usually more beautifully than if I had responsibly acted on them immediately. Granted, that sort of thing has required a cultivation of intuition on my part regarding which tasks to meander around.)
I could also chalk it up to being one of those people that seeks merit in any outcome, especially if it's one that I could be kicking myself over for not being being more proactive. I prefer that over feeling regret and disappointment. And it makes every experience an educational one.
"Life works out in the process of Life Itself. All you have to do is trust that it will, and allow it to." - Neale Donald Walsch, 'Conversations with God'
Shall I dare put forth a metaphysical observation that I think this is where our collective experience is going? That less individual physical action and effort is required to move forward, and more can be given up to the unseen Flow of Things guided by our own pure intention?