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September 07, 2005

Do Nothing

The session started with Jay sharing his experience of learning and practicing Yoga. It all started with a neck pain. Upon a friend�s recommendation, he went to get a massage therapy for three weeks. At the end of the therapy, the masseur asked him whether he�d like to try doing yoga, which was happening in the next room. Jay wondered why he had not paid any attention to the yoga class in the next room the entire period he was taking massage therapy. He took a class and absolutely loved it. There was no looking back. He then attended 3 to 4 classes per week and �couldn�t have enough of it.� He said he loved it because he had full understanding of what he did in the class, could set goals, and see his body become more flexible and responsive. He then took yoga-intensive courses at the end of which, he says, �You know you have changed, you are a different person than the one who came in to do the course.� Jay has been practicing yoga for over fifteen years and says his practice grew to a point where he would enter his yoga room without any plan. And would flow with the moment and end up doing yoga for 2 hours one day or just sleep in a relaxing posture another day.

What started as a neck pain became a lifelong practice of flowing with the reality of the moment.

Me and Nisha shared our experiment in teaching yoga. When friends came to know we are teaching yoga, they asked what kind of yoga do we teach. It felt like a strange question to us because back in India, when we joined yoga class for the first time, we did not ask what kind of yoga they taught. We just went to the class, liked it and stayed with it. So to our friends here, we started answering, �We teach the kind of yoga that you can do.� It did not make sense to us to have a student blindly follow some brand of yoga without an understanding of what is happening to their body, breath and mind while practicing yoga. It became clear to us that the only brand of yoga one can do is one�s own brand regardless of whether one is following some specific instruction or not.

From Jay�s and our experience, it looks like the key to real, long term benefit in any endeavor is to sign up not for someone else�s brand but for oneself. When we sign up for ourselves, commitment, discipline, energy and enthusiasm �happens� and growth ensues.

At this point, I mentioned the Japanese agriculturalist Mansobu Fukuoka�s �do-nothing-farming�. After being the head of an agricultural research institute, Fukuoka quit the job and went on to farm in his land without using fertilizers and pesticides, without pulling out the weeds, without worms and compost. He even stopped tilling the land! And by �doing-nothing� as he jokingly referred to his �method� he produced more quantity and great quality of vegetables, fruits and grains over 30 years. People from all over the world would come to visit his farm to know how did he �do� it. And he repeatedly told everyone that what he did is not a method to be studied and followed the same way everywhere. He said he noticed and learned from nature and allowed his land, seeds, plants, weeds and the weather to work-it-out among themselves. For him, agriculture was not profession but a way of life and it was a way to live in harmony with nature.

From Fukuoka, we learn that we can go beyond signing up for oneself and we could sign up for nature and allow it to inform our actions and take its course through us. When we live this way, we come alive and grow to our highest capacity.

Jay then shared another story that happened the same day we had the session. A while back, Jay came to know that an old friend, who fell out of friendship and did not communicate for 20 years is dying of cancer. Spontaneously he wrote a letter to tell the one-time friend that in spite of all his flaws, he was one of the strongest persons Jay had known in his life. And he wished the friend to get well. The friend had called him that day to profusely thank him and tell him how that letter came to him when he was at his lowest point. Now he is recovering.

Just reminding someone of his or her strength could make a huge difference.

In the middle of our sharing, Sudi joined us and what is happening in his life totally confirmed our thoughts and experience.

After many years of regular employment, Sudhi recently quit his job to start his own venture � helping people with different backgrounds to get into the bio-technology industry. He does consulting for entrepreneurs and investors, conducts non-stop 8 hour workshops, provides market research, strategy, sales, content and communication services � and says he never gets tired. He says for the first time in his life, he is fully connected to what he is doing. �My real personality is coming out in my work. Whatever I do, I see that it is reflecting who I am�, he says. �I am happy�, he says with a big smile. And he is working harder than ever managing business and family.

He said Prasad was a huge inspiration for him to quit his job and do his own thing because every time he saw Prasad he said to himself, �This man is living his passion every day, why can�t I?�

Sudhi shared another story: one of his workshop attendee is a 45 year old woman whose passion was to become a doctor. But she had ruled out the possibility. By the time Sudhi came to know of her passion, he also got a call from a friend, who had joined medical school at 45 after doing many different things. When Sudhi shared this story with that woman, she was highly inspired to know more and possibly apply for a medical school.

To this Jay said he once in a while visualizes the world as a network of floating consciousness. When one point of consciousness comes alive, other points in the same wavelength tune in instantly.

So by being ourselves, living our passion and being in harmony with nature, we could be affecting hundreds of others who aspire for a similar life. So, all we need to do to change the world, is be true to ourselves and nature.

Or as Fukuoka would say, �do nothing�. Nothing against our nature, that is.

Posted by Ragu at September 7, 2005 04:16 PM

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