Boketto: Discover the Importance of Not Doing

Tessa Palmer
Nov 2, 2019 · 3 min read

Do you ever catch yourself, staring out the window at nothing?

I often find myself gazing mindlessly into empty space, not really look at anything but not really thinking about anything either. My eyes aren’t focused and my brain certainly isn’t either.

Turns out this phenomenon has a rather beautiful name in Japenese:

Boketto.

[defn] Boketto: To gaze vacantly into the distance without thinking about anything specific.

In its native script: ボケっと

According to this, Boketto is an onomatepeic word meaning “to do nothing,” derived from the word for daydreaming.

We could call it daydreaming but it’s also not quite the same. I’m not dreaming. In fact, I’m not thinking about anything at all. The word boketto seems to capture my vacant, dreamy gazing out the window wonderfully.

I don’t believe there is a word for this in English so I’ll steal the Japenese one instead.

Boketto.

It’s nice to take a mental rest, every now and again.

I mean nothing, just staring, thinking, not-thinking. Looking at the clouds and the leaves and wondering where they all came from.

Don’t beat yourself up about it when you find yourself practising Boketto. The next time you catch yourself staring mindlessly into space, know that you’re not the only one who does this. In fact, it’s so common that it even has it’s very own name! Well, at least in Japan it does.

Instead of getting stressed about all the things not done, choose to enjoy the mindless wandering, this little moment to clear your head and appreciate your surroundings.

When I gaze vacantly into the distance like this I’m not doing anything at all, except enjoying the present.

In that sense, it’s quite meditative.

It allows time for my subconscious to kick in, for the gears to silently tick away in the cobwebs of my mind while all I do is take a look at my surroundings and enjoy the simple things that this world has to offer.

Spend some time just gazing

It’s ok, the notifications can wait, the world won’t explode. Don’t try too hard, just let your mind wander.

It’s this ability to just stare into the distance, not thinking about anything in particular, that allows us to relax. Because in that moment, nothing matters — not the time, the place or the stuff. Just that you’re here, and you’re breathing and the world slowly goes on its merry way around you.

Try doing nothing for the next two minutes. Not dreaming or worrying. Just gazing.

Disengage, breath in, breath out and relax.

Boketto.

Photo by Dmytro Tolokonov on Unsplash

The Ascent

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Tessa Palmer

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Life after quitting the rat-race.

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness and fulfillment — in mind, body, and soul.

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