The Zen of doing Nothing

Work, work, work. Play hard. Take a holiday. Go out. have you seen the latest ? And yet …. I crave to walk the mountains, not alone, but in solitude, allowing my mind to breathe, to listen to the quite whispers going on between me and my mind. Between my conscious and subconscious. Every day to get to know myself again, to say a quite hello to myself, and give myself a gentle hug. And seemingly to do nothing. Nothing except just be…..

…. for if not, I am no longer active. I fool myself into thinking that the flurry of activity is real. That it gives my presence on this planet worth
It is an illusion.
For it is just a flurry of reactivity.. It’s like my mind is leaving my heart behind.
Often we believe that what happens is so directly related to what we do. Our actions.
That is just our Ego. For often our actions are mere reactions. Reactions that actually impede what we set out to achieve. To do.
Sometimes, it isgood to sit back and believe. Just believe. Knowing that sometimes it is not merely in the doing, but also in the believing.

22 thoughts on “The Zen of doing Nothing

  1. This is all part of a vicious circle. We really dont know whats concerned with ego or whats not. But there is something or say some stage when we are fully satisfied with our actions/reactions or whatever.
    Sorry, but for a moment If I try to enter in to your existence then is not it like this:
    With passing time our desires change. Like for you (atleast on surface for others) it was leaving profession of CA and become associated with films. First acting and then film making. During that journey you might have felt that serenity or say synchronization with the flow of nature(designed especially for you) and those moments could be said as moments of pure ecstacy. and as you said that by mind those moments cant be understood.neither you just believed in those moments. they happened and you just lived them and felt good(which is just interpretation in the words). But again to wander in solitude or introspection etc are again desires. at time it can be passion towards creativity (a broad term which contains your poetry, prose, painting, film making etc) and at other time it can be a desire to be in peace or wander in forest or in mountain so that something hidden inside you become clear to you.
    When you feel love towards your kid, then you completely believe it, its not doing or an action, its a belief. perhaps circle of love can be increased, but difference in opinion and living styles come in between because that asks for interference in each other’s lives and thus conflicts and lose of mental peace so we are back to square.
    In the end its average in the life. Even for Budhas, its an average. Because somewhere they will also look failedin some areas if we will try to look them with our understanding and definitions and its very difficult to reach to their level of undersrtanding and we start believing what they have said. But still it also works for some time only and we are through with this belief also.
    There is something in the mind, which is to be understood as without that we are coming back to same questions again and again though from different sides.
    It has become our belief that mind and heart works differently, but there should be acommon thread between them also where both work in tandem.
    Shekhar, A great piece to raise questions!!!!

  2. Shekhar,
    Then dont you think that even the act of believing is mere reaction as is opposed to doing? Though personally I see that no amounts of belief can give me the joy of seeing half moon, from across my window, in the heart of the night, or probably moving closer to a person seeping right beside me with almost half consciousness. I’m not sure if there is any belief in it (or is it just an ‘assumed truth’ that there is no belief in it)
    But I would like to know what is there to be believed?

  3. rearrange the letters
    reactivity to creativity
    reactor to creator
    it’s all in the rearrangement of how we think about what comes at us- outside stimuli or inside stimuli

  4. Dear Shekhar,
    I believe there is no teacher as good as silence – it clarifies the mind, grounds us, increases awareness, teaches compassion, and often provides a very divine kind of happiness. As Edison said, the best thinking has always been done in solitude. This quote from the Sufi poet Rumi is one of my favorite quotes, ‘Only let the moving waters calm down, and the sun and moon will be reflected on the surface of your being.’
    I think nothingness is a very valuable concept as it detaches us from the illusion that we call reality, it also gives us the power for infinite creation, if we so desire. A couple of days back I met some mountain climbers at the Rubin Museum in New York who had just returned from Mt. Everest. I asked them about their motivation and they said that we go just because it is there and we are there. No one can define where the initial intent or desire to do anything comes from, most likely it comes out of nothingness.
    Two quotes on ‘Nothing’
    Ultimately, Leibniz argued, there are only two absolutely simple concepts, God and Nothingness. From these, all other concepts may be constructed, the world, and everything within it, arising from some primordial argument between the deity and nothing whatsoever. And then, by some inscrutable incandescent insight, Leibniz came to see that what is crucial in what he had written is the alternation between God and Nothingness. And for this, the numbers 0 and 1 suffice.
    David Berlinski
    Source: The Advent of the Algorithm: The 300-Year Journey from an Idea to the Computer
    For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed.
    Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662)
    Himanshu – NY

  5. hey dude…
    First two paras are beautiful…almost like a child…honest…
    and then next paras are so disturbing…
    First two paras are enough…rest is dirt…
    same problem with the films… i was trying to share few blogs earlier…
    First two paras are like MASOOM…Bandit Queen…
    (can we keep budget part away for a while?…can we really do that…! )
    its about the journey…
    hence i said in some earlier blog comment that while making film you might be exploring life on a personal level…meeting people…dealing with so many heads…and the creative process…but then its like a flurry of activities if the subject is a project rather than a film…
    again i am not able to explain properly what exactly i want to share…
    But the stories you have told here on the blog… like that boy in the temple or your mother buying vegetables or that woman from Solapur…these incidences or stories touched me more than Elizabeth…( considering these were incidents and film is a different form…film stories are different…etc…)
    because these stories are born out of your exploration…hence there were fresh Visuals in those stories…visuals which were new yet i had seen them…but i could see those visuals in new light because they came out of your personal explorations…Bandit Queen was that kind of film…Masoom to certain extent had that exploration…
    PS: amm… hey hi…

  6. Shekhar,
    With every new day we learn something new. More we learn , we become more fearful and stupid. More we know, more deep in the dark we go, Is going deep in the dark is the beginning towards the light, Only If we realize, that what we know is nothing. We all live in a world where nothing is moving the way we want. That’s why We always keep looking for that final thing(peace),happiness or whatever you call it. That is not possible here. Here we have to live in the same way the world had lived before…The only thing we can try to do is TO turn …our reactions into actions(karma).
    I don’t know..if I’ am making any sense! And Shekhar, I would like to share one of my video with everyone here if you permit me. Original is Guru dutt’s song “Hamne to jab kaliyan mangi kanton ka haar mila.” And this is just a pure action (I dint make that for money or whatever ) …I liked the song and I made it. I’m Sorry for the people, who don’t understand hindi..didn’t get time for subtitles.CHECK OUT HERE on youtube.

  7. Hi Shekhar-
    Writing after a while. Our actions are not a result of our thoughts, but a result of what we think we are supposed to do, the way we are supposed to behave – as a wife, mother, daughter. Wonder, how many people do things as a person and not as a role they are playing.
    A few lines from another of my poems 🙂
    “All I did that evening was stand
    Stand – by the shore
    And stare – beyond into nothingness…
    Into, what the learned call – horizon
    Not thinking, not searching…
    Just looking…
    Some answers are written in Silence!”

  8. “I crave to walk the mountains, not alone, but in solitude, allowing my mind to breathe, to listen to the quite whispers going on between me and my mind.”
    …loving this completely, Shekhar

  9. The key Shekhar is to see what no one else sees. See what everyone chooses not to see. Coz more often than not what’s true in our minds is true, whether some people know it or not.

  10. sitting back tight…wait. wait… maybe ull observe… a world…not illusion… a zen not of being idle but of chaos… realise that world of illusion is bigger than this world itself… that this zen is strange attraction… to a chaos… actions depend on our mind…a complex system like anything else…its unpredictability.. .. and the predictability in unpredictability after being idle….that aim n achievements are stable even if they are hidden…. a zen…a chaos… that world is biggest…not illusion

  11. Shekhar:
    This weekend I wrote this blog post on how Great Directors always seem to make movies that are steeped in their “Core of Being”. THAT I argue, is the Art of Great Movie DIrection. (
    I am amazed at your repertoire of thoughts – on love, spirituality, art, direction, economy etc….
    What is YOUR “Core of Being”?

  12. my core being ? it is the search for that which is universal and lies within me. It is to connect to that and experience life, art, work through that –

  13. Thanks, Shekhar, for sharing your core of being! On your activity being a reaction and so having ego.. I have this to say:
    The scriptures have used Karma as both – Action and Result. Now, we dont know what the “original” action was that created the first result. however, from time immemorial the results of our past actions prompt us to do actions (or as you say very well, RE-actions). Hence, we end up in a spiral. Our life is NOT dictated by our present actions then, but by past actions as we keep on reacting to the results as opposed to breaking that link between results that come upon us and the action that we take.
    That is why the learned have always urged everyone to live like a witness – devoid of judgment. That is probably the best way to break that link. For every result that comes upon us – is evaluated in the paradigm of cause and effect and thus a value of +ve or -ve given… and our action is based on that. If there was no value judgment.. there would be neither +ve nor -ve…. only action. Just the act of observation.
    I think the Columbia professor Srikumar Rao has written on it in practical terms extremely well in his book (based on his lectures to the MBA students there) – “Are you ready to succeed”. I think it is excellent!

  14. Shekhar,
    Great intellectual site. Like many many others I too love your movies very much – especially Masoom.
    What I find amazing is that you are able to elicit such deep thoughts and great response from readers of this site. Usually blogs are mostly full of 2 readers / two groups of readers fighting over some stupid issue. This blog is special where ever one seems to feel at ease sharing their thoughts like friends.
    Keep up the good work.

  15. Dear Shekhar,
    I just happened to find your blog page and am glad I did. I believe we all receive signs and signals from the universe all the time. It is only the lucky few or the somewhat spiritually enlightened few who manage to understand these signs on time!! My life has been a series of spontaneous actions spurred on by such signs and they have never let me down.
    As an example, right now I just quit my job not because it was bad paying or anything but because I was not feeling alive enough. And though I have this huge educational loan to repay and I’m not sure where I will find my next job, I knew it was the right thing to do…now. So I did.
    And yesterday (i formally quit), I read this poem by chance …
    There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
    things that change. But it doesn’t change.
    People wonder about what you are pursuing.
    You have to explain about the thread.
    But it is hard for others to see.
    While you hold it you can’t get lost.
    Tragedies happen; people get hurt
    or die; and you suffer and get old.
    Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
    You don’t ever let go of the thread.
    – William Stafford
    And I’m smiling now 🙂

  16. This post sounds like you are experiencing a drop in yor connectiOM levels…
    You wish to c’OM’mune with Nature…
    To immerse yourself in the wOMb of peaceful solitude….
    Prolonged drop in the OM levels can lead to OMnesia!
    One Mind
    One Mother
    One Meaniing….
    Sometimes we just need to get out of those airconditioned, airless boxes called buildings, with their recycled thoughts and the inhalation of others weary-breath sighs… remove ourself from the sharpness of man made lines and linear thoughts… and return to the Mandala…Mother Earths circle of cOMmunion….
    We all need a “room without walls”…here is mine:

  17. Hi Shekhar,
    Saw your interview on NDTV good times -One life to Love. What you shared, I could identify with. The journey inward is eventually the only thing that matters…. I am a student of a wonderful reiki master. When u were talking about being ‘a channel’ I said to myself ‘ Oh my God! he is so ready to do reiki’. It is a wonderful wonderful experience. Have you ever done it? We meditate at my teacher’s place every week. You should meet him. He’s an amazing 33yr old guy…who I think has got it. It was real nice listenning to you talk. take care,

  18. Dear Mr Kapur,
    I’ve enjoyed visiting your site and especially this post. At this moment in time I have no job but am just enjoying being. Stopping and just being. It’s great and I would recommend it to anyone!
    Belinder xx

  19. The song of ‘JAB WE MET’-
    ” na hai ye pana, na khona bhi hai.
    Tera na hona jaane kyo hona bhi hai…”
    I think, is resounding of, in one sense, what u are saying…to be in love without possessing, and becoming ‘love’ oneself, is similar to be with one’s self, or probably is being oneself.
    The Zen way, where we MERGE with something – something creative: some archery, some film-making, some painting, some study, etc
    or, may merge with some other’s being when in love… are probably the ways of SELF experiencing.. loosing oneself to get one’s SELF.. interesting.
    Having certain threshold of money, healthy sex, social status are(and may be essential one) PRELUDE to this state.
    Navneet Chopra
    email –,

  20. The Zen of doing Nothing
    You are that NO thing.
    Zen or no Zen cannot take you to what you are.
    For what you are, you already are.
    There is no becoming.
    There is only being.
    You cannot try to “be”.
    Being is…
    You create an imaginary wall of separation between “you” and reality believe in it; it is the “belief” in this separation that gives rise to the concept that something needs to be done to be Nothing.
    Take a look and see what you are…it is obvious.
    You cannot get anywhere.
    Simply because the “you” that you believe yourself to be never existed.
    A thought cannot get anywhere…

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