Nothing Matters

Ang Balon: Drawing from the Source

Dr. Rickie Camara

Today I write about nothing. Not about nonsense for that would be for naught. I won’t write naughtily either; for it used to mean that if you were ‘naughty’ you were a ‘no-human.’ Today, it just signifies you are mischievous; but still part of the milk of human kindness. If something is better than nothing, should I write about that instead? Nah; here goes nothing.

“Nothing doing,” my Editor might say. But have you ever had a day where, in fact, you were doing nothing? No goals to achieve, no task to execute, no errand to run, no TV to watch, no text to read; no ‘busyness’ to feel? Notice how such a day can be so refreshing and revitalizing? Unless you had someone on your back or an inner voice saying, “You are good for nothing!” And yes, you can confidently retort back that there are times when doing nothing can be good for you!

Taking five to ten-minute breaks from work to do nothing a few times a day translates to a 50% increase in productivity. Meditating is better than sitting down and doing nothing; but doing the latter alone for just ten to fifteen minutes a day reduces heart rate and blood pressure, improves digestion and mood; and boosts one’s overall sense of emotional well-being. The brain when doing nothing replenishes glucose and oxygen in its cells, restores metabolism, and can lead to a clearer head and a stronger sense of self-confidence. We need to sometimes step away from our lives to see it in perspective. We need to hear the silence in between the sounds to appreciate the music.

Big successful companies now prescribe quiet periods where they ask employees not to take calls, handle e-mails, and engage in idle chat via text or voice. Smart move, as it can take up to 25 minutes to deal with or recover from a phone call or email; and researchers have found that the average person receives such an interruption every 11 minutes. This means you are always running behind; catching your wind rather than being carried by it.

‘Nothing’ can be really creative; it is nothing to sneeze at. And if you sit still with no thing, i.e. no thought, event, or object in mind, you will soon note that something is born: a new thought, event, or object! And they can be a great inspiration for imagination. For instance, I saw an ad in a newspaper for a Vein Clinic. It did nothing for me; probably because my veins are still okay. But at that moment I thought of a song by Carly Simon and that a better ad might read, “You’re so Vein. I’ll bet you think this ad is about you. Don’t you? Don’t you?”

I may be writing in vain here; but I am hoping for nothing of the kind. Is there nothing new under the sun to speak of? “War? What’s it good for? Absolutely nothing.”- sang Edwin Starr in the 70s. We use everything to bombard something to nothing. We don’t even bother with the ‘spoils of war’ anymore; in fact, no one even wants to take in the millions of people who are inadvertently displaced. But war is about killing; and by whatever name we call them, they are still people whose lives we pulverize to nothing. In a strange twist to the Golden Rule, we terrorize on to others as they terrorize on to us. So commit to have nothing to do with that cycle of violence and carry nothing but peace in your mind.

On a higher vibratory note, you notice how the best relationships are when there are no expectations? Like nothing at all; just unconditional love. A parent’s unqualified love for a child frees that child to soar and be whoever they want to be, to achieve whatever they set their eyes on. To be in the presence of a lover who makes no demands of you from the past or for the future; who simply accepts you as you are, in the present situation, in all your strengths and shortcomings. That is nothing but joy.

Love and accept yourself in the same way; unequivocally and unquestionably, nothing less. People say that they do not want to be judged by their appearance; but then spend an enormous amount of time and money on their looks. Bear truth to the beauty that you already are. Attractiveness naturally increases during ovulation for women; and when men ‘smell’ that, they will thrust out their chest and swagger like a baboon! There is a sense of relief when one is done with the reproductive cycle, either when menopause or andropause hits, or when one transcends their biology, the incessant drive of DNA to replicate. Seeking nothing, attached to nothing, simply content, one gains Everything.

Some people at the end of the day will say, “My life has come to nothing.” That is impossible; but that feeling arises when you put conditions and expectations on yourself. You gain something from every experience. Everything that happens to you is embodied knowledge if you live your life in self-awareness. There are no mistakes in life; only lessons to be learned. Find and treasure the beauty in the everyday, ordinary things. Be that happy, grateful, plain person walking on the street.

Gosh, this article now seems to be adding up to something. I better stop at nothing. If I have said nothing, I hope that I have said it well. Namaste.

Dr. Rickie Camara is a Board-Certified psychiatrist and Bikram Yoga teacher. He teaches yoga classes at Hotyoga8 in Kaimuki. He has a yoga-aligned health coaching and counseling practice in Kahala. You can hear him every Friday on the radio at KNDI between 8 and 8:30 a.m. on the Medical Forum with Flor Martinez. Email contact at

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