A dear friend of mine just posted a vacation image on his Facebook page. “All” that it shows is a small line of cream-colored sand and an eye-filling chunk of gray-blue water. That’s it. Not even a bright blue sky. He says that he is sitting by the ocean doing nothing.
No screens, no words, no information. No searching, no music. Just him alone with the sand and the water, a plain view indeed.
Into his ears come the ancient rhythm of waves and the piercingly-lonely cries of gulls. Upon his eyes fall the plain forms and colors of water and sand. He does not have to search for or study these things, they simply are. He too simply is, a part of this simple landscape.
His mind empties of its worries, interests, questions and excitements. His body lets go of its tensions and its social need to display and to accommodate and respond.
The word “vacation” comes from the Latin of course, from a word meaning freedom, or release from occupation, and that word in turn comes from one which simply means, To Be Empty.
So my friend sits by the ocean, doing nothing, being free. Being empty.
I wonder how long each of us could sit by the ocean, doing nothing? This is a test: go find a simple place (under a tree, you know, or in the dark), turn off all the electronic input, and just sit there, doing nothing. Be free, be empty. How long can you do that without craving complexity?
Enjoy the trip.