Yoga for the Mind: …leaving things undone

The elimination of nonessentials

The Art of Rest & Relaxation - Week 3

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.  Lin Yutang

Lin Yutang's most important book is 'The importance of Living' and this classic bestseller has introduced millions of readers to the noble art of leaving things undone.

Amazon introduces the book 'The Importance of Living' as being 'a wry, witty antidote to the dizzying pace of the modern world. Lin Yutang's prescription is the classic Chinese philosophy of life: Revere inaction as much as action, invoke humor to maintain a healthy attitude, and never forget that there will always be plenty of fools around who are willing - indeed, eager - to be busy, to make themselves useful, and to exercise power while you bask in the simple joy of existence. (It)... is a refreshing, playful reminder to savour life's simple pleasures.'

Leaving things undone usually has a bad reputation, so we really need to make an effort to lift this up for the sake of balance in our lives and view it as something noble too, as something valuable - in the same way as we view it when things get done.

It is a call for freedom from duty instead of sacrificing all our time & energy for ticking off tasks, it calls for a lighthearted approach as opposed to the heaviness of a grind, it encourages us to accept that we will never get it all done anyways and let it be enough what we have done, and say goodbye to the whip of perfectionism. So freeing!

If you feel you have access to your deep intuitive knowing about what is needed to create balance in life, then nurture this knowing with small steps of letting things undone, and slowly it will grow stronger and one day it will be strong enough to stand it's ground in a bold way and will encourage others to try this too - simply due to your example! It will grow healthy self-confidence and make it easy to let things go, take life easy, celebrate simplicity and savour the deliciousness of balance in life.

Celebrate every time you listen to your intuition or do something that helps you become happier, stronger, and healthier.   Dr. Christiane Northrup

As we navigate our way towards this approach, an easy way to start could be sifting and sorting through our daily tasks, and focus on what is essential, get that done, and cast aside everything nonessential. Slowly but surely it will get easier to get a feel for everything nonessential and simply leave those undone.

The magic is that those nonessentials often will then dissolve by themselves - if only we can leave them undone - and in hindsight they even might reveal their meaninglessness and how any investment of our time and energy into them would have felt like a true waste of time anyway.

The elimination of nonessentials makes life easier and lighter, erases overwhelm, and will free us up to stop, pause, take time out and create quality time to just be.

Lin Yutang says "If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live."


Please take 10 deep, slow, long, smooth and even breath and ask yourself "what is non-essential for me today? What can I leave undone today?"


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