I was waiting for Evan to arrive for our father and son hiking trip in beautiful Big Sur. I stuck my bare feet back into the chilly water flowing around my weathered Adirondack chair. The hotel puts these chairs right in the middle of the stream for its visitors, and I was wonderfully wedged among the smooth river rocks.
I sipped my Sam Adams and leaned back on the steep angle of the chair back, taking in the leafy branches, tiny white butterflies and slender slice of blue sky. I looked down between my knees at the stack of stones someone had left behind. They were beautifully balanced in a small improbable tower. I reached into the cold water to select one more rock, and summoned my Jenga expertise to carefully place it on top.
I had the frustration and blessing of no cell phone signal at the Big Sur River Inn. I was trusting Evan would make it far enough north before they closed PCH for construction, but I had no way to reach him. Cell phones have made us lazy in preparing Plan A’s and Plan B’s, haven’t they?
I had no connection to the internet, but I strangely did not feel that disconnected. I was being forced to slow down and relax my body and mind. The sound of the water and the gentle breeze rustling through the leaves did not make white noise, it was more like atmospheric music. After swirling through a round of thoughts about family, career and personal goals, I thought about one extraordinary thing that rose above all the rest.
That’s right. I was thinking about nothing. I had heard about this legendary “nothing box,” but I don’t think I had ever really been there before. It was a special place of peace that contained no real thoughts, other than thinking about the fact that I had no thoughts. I was simply thinking about thinking.
As I gazed down the babbling stream, hearing, seeing, speaking no evil, I smiled. This must be what meditation is all about. With my typical daily dose of digital stimulation and verbal gymnastics, it is a state that is not easy for me to reach. But I’ll tell you this… Afterwards I felt refreshed, recharged and recommitted to living my life to its fullest. So I am going to seek out more of these peaceful moments of contentment. And I will think nothing of it.
Where do you find the best nothing in your life?