Wild Idleness

Wild Idleness

Dec 13 2020

Even before Covid -19, life was constantly changing. No single system or formula can explain everything. In an ever-changing world and uncertain times, our only hope is an open mind.

mindfulism® encourages us to become receptive to change and retrains our reactive tendencies that undermine our ability to react thoughtfully. 

Mindfulness practices are concerned with the development of minds that can stay with experience long enough to see change as it happens and therefore not forgetting to appreciate things at that moment.

Often we are so alienated from our bodies that we need to relearn the ability to look, listen, smell, and sense. To relearn and develop a natural empathy that the world is alive in the same way that we are alive.

It's an invitation to step away from screens for a while and attend directly and intimately with the natural world. This then develops your animistic imagination.

Imaginative animism is a concept and a way of relating to the world. It involves attributing sentience, the quality of being able to experience feelings, to other beings. This may include people, animals, plants, and the environment. This manner of imaginative empathy is a sensibility, a manner, or a style of engaging with the world with vulnerability. You are deepening your nature. You are not sentimentalizing but having an affinity. This is a method to be in the world, not just appreciating the world.

When we surrender to the perception we can find truth through our imagination and empathy. We can see into the heart of things.

This idea of awareness is echoed in Keats, (1817) definition of 'negative capability' as 'the capacity of human beings to trust and revise their contexts.' It is an individual ability to perceive, think, and operate beyond our predetermined capacity.

When we invite the awareness of the senses in the practices of mindfulism® it is an awareness of sensations rather than just thoughts. The meaning of words can become less important than they feel. We become attuned to what is present rather than what we think is present.

This power lies not only in animistic imagination and negative capability, it is the development of a new response, and the awareness of the mind wandering.  

mindfulism® practice is about noticing when and where the mind wanders and guiding attention back to the present moment without judgment.

Maybe we judge ourselves because we think we should not have experienced mind wandering. Or maybe we judge ourselves because we notice this magic moment of awareness when we wandered and then returned. Either way, it's a judgment, and the practice itself means allowing things to be as they are in each moment without judgment.

That is when we have the opportunity to notice what is there. Maybe there's a richness or a beauty to our experience that we hadn't noticed before as we were too busy judging. We are learning to respond rather than react. To maintain discernment, be purposeful, intentional, and powerful.

The capacity to be in uncertainties, mysteries, and doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason. Engaging receptiveness, empathy, creativity, and understanding.

To cultivate negative capability or what Wordsworth referred to as 'wild idleness' have periods of doing nothing. And when you do that nothing, notice your state of mind to do with being pleased or displeased when noticing the changes. Maybe you notice happiness, love, irritability, or stress. See if you can notice when change is a surprise!




Mukesh, Kumar. The Notion of Negative Capability and Poetic Vision. ISSN 2348 - 6864. International Journal of Research, Vol 1, Issue 4, May 2014. 

Nichols, Ashton. Wordsworth as Environmental Nature Writer. In Nature and the Environment, edited by Scott Slovic, 100-117. Ipswich, MA: Salem Press, 2013.  

Wilde, Samantha. Life in Action: Conversations on Making and Being. 27994917. Royal Roads University (Canada), ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2020.

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