3 min read

Excerpt from The Next Ten Minutes

By Andrew Peterson, Ed.D.

I won’t lie to you. This is the hardest exercise in the book.

What You’ll Need

  • Nothing

How to Do It

  1. Do nothing. Move gradually into this exercise. Start by doing nothing in particular. Precisely how you choose to do this is entirely up to you.
  2. Do nothing. Deepen your practice by focusing on what is going on around you. But do nothing in response. Let it all happen. Be passive and refuse to react.
  3. Do nothing. Now start to quiet your body. Find a comfortable position and hold as still as you can. Breathe if you must, but try to keep it to a minimum.
  4. Do nothing. What’s all that activity? It’s your mind, racing around, doing things. Quiet your thoughts. What’s happening inside your body? You can feel your pulse; that’s your blood chugging along. Your eyes blink. You look around. You subtly tense and relax different muscles. You swallow. Stay with it all. Keep noticing it. Keep trying to still all these activities.
  5. Do nothing. Without choosing to do nothing, and without choosing not to do something, continue. Then when you are ready, get up and move on with your life.

Approximately Nothing

Recently, my eight-year-old son has taken to pointing out that it’s impossible to do “nothing.” He’s very proud of having been able to figure this out, and he can go on in great detail about how many things you’re actually doing when you seem to be doing “nothing.” He’s right, of course. And you’re right to wonder why in this exercise you’ve been sent off on such a fool’s errand. What is the point? I used to ask this same question when, as a child, I was told that I was supposed to try to be like Jesus, who, as I was also told, was “perfect.” It’s not possible, I’d say. Be as much like him as it is possible for you to be, was the response. That answer used to rankle me so much. I felt like I was being set up. I could only fail. But in retrospect, I can see a different sort of wisdom in attempting to emulate an ideal that is inherently unachievable.

Why try to do nothing?

Because trying, in and of itself, transforms our awareness. In the act of attempting to achieve a state of nothingness, we reveal to ourselves how many layers of “something” we are doing at any given moment. It brings us face-to-face with ourselves in the present moment. It brings us into reality.

And reality is a very good thing indeed.

 

The Next Ten Minutes

The Next Ten Minutes: 51 Absudly Simple Ways to Seize the Moment

The desire to discover meaning in our lives is a powerful motivator for many people. Some turn to psychotherapy and counseling for help, some turn to spiritual teachings, and many turn to both. The Next Ten Minutes is the guide to help us discover the seeds of transformation and meaning in even the most ordinary routines.

The Next Ten Minutes consists of a collection of exercises originally created for use in Dr. Peterson's successful counseling practice. Rather than taking readers out of the everyday, Dr. Peterson invites them to move more deeply into the familiar tasks of ordinary life, such as turning simple breathing, eating, physical love, or throwing out the trash into meditative exercises that can transform your day. Based on both Buddhist philosophy and proven psychology techniques, these succinct and accessible meditations also offer simple and effective methods for therapeutic counseling and personal growth. The power to seize the day is but a few simple steps away. Buy your copy.


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Free Excerpts, Lessons, Videos, and Meditations from Beyond Words

Aiming High: The Art, the Practice, and the Gift of Conscious Aging
Aiming High: The Art, the Practice, and the Gift of Conscious Aging

4 min read

Read More
Work with the magic of Artemis, Goddess of the Moon
Work with the magic of Artemis, Goddess of the Moon

3 min read

Read More
Setting Intentions for the Best New Year
Setting Intentions for the Best New Year

6 min read

Read More