Why you should stop being a doing machine

blog image lights I spent many years reading meditation books and going to conferences before I actually faced the fear of active non-doing! As a compulsive doer myself, sitting down to meditate, was profoundly challenging. Where’s the productivity in that?

Although I love being productive and working on various projects that inspire me, I realise that I also need to relax and take moments to just connect with being, rather than racing through life like a doing machine.

After pulling Mindful in May together in two months I’m looking forward to participating myself. Ironically it’s been pretty hectic, with friends letting me know I’ve been a bit Absent in April!

I have learned that underneath this drive to be productive can be a restlessness that makes it hard to just be, leading to exhaustion and rising stress levels that chronically chip away at our health. In our increasingly hyperconnected world, our need for stimulation is rising and it’s becoming harder to slow down.

Meditation is not about becoming passive or giving up on your goals or future plans. In fact, you’ll see us profile some extremely busy, action-orientated people over the month, who turn to meditation for balance, rejuvenation, and a way to anchor to the moment, ensuring they are able to be fully present in their lives.

Mindful in May is about making a commitment to yourself to practice stillness for ten minutes daily. You’ll learn ways to focus your attention and bring more kindness and self-compassion into your life.

Some of the practices may seem a little boring or pointless if you’re new to them. They did to me.  If this happens, begin to notice all the judgements that arise as you practice. Thoughts like “what’s the point of this?” or “this is really annoying” or  “I feel really restless” or “when is this meditation going to end” are not uncommon when you start (or sometimes even after years of sitting). Most of these thoughts are just a result of our neurology having to adjust from do-do-do to be-be-be. It’s a pretty different landscape!

Becoming more attuned to the many micro-judgements and evaluations we make from moment to moment in our lives is part of the mindfulness practice too. It’s all about just paying attention to whatever arises from moment to moment, with openness and curiosity. No rights or wrongs, good or bad, just noticing. This ability to notice becomes easier not just in meditation, but also in day-to-day life. So if a thought comes up like “when’s this ten minutes going to be over?” There’s no need to react. Instead, just notice it, let it go, and bring your attention back to the object of meditation, be it breath, body sensations, or sounds. But more of that when we actually start…

In the Mindful in May “challenge”, there are no winners or losers. It’s just about challenging you to explore something new with openness and non-judgement until you have given it a go.

There is no money-back guarantee here, as one hundred percent of all funds raised go directly to helping the nearly one billion people living without access to clean water.  I hope you’ll take this opportunity to dive in, commit and explore what effects meditation can bring to your life. If it turns out not to be your thing, you’ve helped to change other people’s lives just for trying!

If you’re a seasoned meditator, then the challenge is about supporting you in bringing mindfulness back into the routine of your life. Even if you already meditate daily, there’s a lot to be gained from dedicating this practice to a good cause or challenging yourself to extend the duration of your meditation sits each day.

Even if you have no personal interest in meditation, you can still donate to the cause!

Knowing that I’ll be part of a community of others who are practicing daily mindfulness meditation in May and who together are literally improving the lives of others, will certainly help my resolve to be more Mindful in May.

There’s still time for you to join up before it starts on May 1st. Share this with your friends if you think they might be interested and don’t forget to donate and get sponsored.

Ready to get started?

If you sign up make sure you get a ticket to the launch on April 16th.

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"If we wish to be healthy, happy and clear-minded, we need to upgrade our “inner technology”of attention to meet the demands of our increasingly complex world. That's where mindfulness comes in.."




Elise Bialylew is the author of the bestselling book, The Happiness Plan, and founder of Mindful in May, the world’s largest online global mindfulness fundraising campaign.

A doctor trained in psychiatry, turned social entrepreneur and mindfulness expert, she’s passionate about supporting individuals and organisations to develop inner tools for greater wellbeing and flourishing, and offers workshops and training at The Mind Life Project.

Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, New York Times and on Australian Television. She was recently recognised by the Australian Financial Review as a 2019 AFR Women of Influence.

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