And what we have left undone

Every day there is so much that we leave undone.

 

Talking about what we have left undone is a common concept in religious thinking and somehow has also a strong root in business and general life.

 

But what do we really leave undone?

 

Every day is a competition for resources and for being more and better. We wake up and scurry to make our living, to make our mark and to make this day count. We spend 24 hours breathing, 16 hours running around and being industrious and at best we get done what is normal in any given day. So there should be nothing undone – as every moment can be counted?

 

Yet some choose not to be humbled by those around them that are competing to eat, to live and to breathe. We keep going forward in a mundane and uninspired fashion and just revel in putting one foot in front of the next. We live with emotions that fool us into believing that we have, need or desire things that we cannot attain. We cannot detach, get angry and frustrated with all that is around us and dump feelings and emotions on others around us in attempts to gain pity, or procure some sort of sympathy in a hope that it will make things better.

 

We choose only to survive and then we are surprised that we fail to prosper. We choose to do what is necessary and not what will add value. We think that to want more enable us to receive and fail to see that giving is the only way to let that go which is keeping our hands full.

 

When we do realise that there is things that are left undone – and we start wanting to exercise, walk around and stare up at the sky. Life becomes a balance between pause, release, rush, breathe and if we are good at it – we can temporarily fool ourselves into a thinking that there is balance in all of this.

 

And once again – it happens that we feel that there is so much undone… It is as if the very act of being demands of us to do more, be more and to want more. The abundance of nature spills out into our very soul and demands of us to be better beings.

 

Do we do what is required to be industrious – to endeavour and to excel? Do we take on the task to be the creators of destinies and of futures? Do we hug each drop out of the sky as a celebration of life? Do we dedicate our full attention to every moment of being?

 

What needs to be done, needs to be done right. Yet it is not about laying schemes and plans – it is about doing, being and living. We are tolerant of the poor, the shoddy, the disorganised, the empty and the unacceptable. We are gracious to the unjust, tolerant to time wasted and ignorant of that which is in front of us. We fail to accept that mediocrity may just not be good enough – because we are too afraid to judge ourselves as mediocre. The middle member of the crowd survives because we are either too afraid to recognise that which is good, or too blind to stand against that which is not.

 

We revel in preying on each other’s weaknesses and fail to recognise and build on each other’s strengths. And then we wonder why so many people look at themselves today as just another number, just another human walking on the side of the street – aimless, purposeless and empty. We forget that in each of us there is wisdom, power, beauty – the ability to survive against all odds, the ability to innovate, and the ability to be industrious and prosperous.

 

We continue to seek acceptance and think that meaninglessly completing the expectation of another will liberate ourselves and that for one minute their appreciation will give us joy. We fool ourselves into illusions of security and wonder why we cannot control everything and everything around us. We want to be different and find out that we are just the same. We then want to be the same as other and find ourselves alone.

 

This is what it means to leave things undone. This is what we leave undone – every day, we compromise on so many levels and somehow choose to let living life remain undone…

 

To not leave things undone – they must be done. This implies doing. But doing what ?

 

To do is to be. To be, is to be yourself. To be yourself is to understand who you are, what you need to do and to do that. Be all you must be, be all that can be, be all you need to be, but if given a choice then choose to be. To be or not to be has once aswer – be with all your might. Be on your terms and be doing what you can, must and want to be doing. It is not about putting in more effort – it is about making it count for you. By being more you – you start being more. Once you start giving you – you start receiving you. And when you are truly yourself and are not living the lives of others, the dreams of others and you are truthfully expressing yourself – there is nothing that remains undone.

 

It is maybe best summarised by a Zen proverb that says

Before enlightment – chop wood, carry water

After enlightment – chop wood, carry water.

 

When reading it, it is tempting to think that it refers to saying that nothing in your life may change on achieving enlightment. The lesson is that you must then so continue finding meaning in your daily action. On reflection this has different meaning. As much as nothing may change –if you can see things in a different light your daily task may remain the same – but the whole being doing it may have changed. Before enlightment you may not choose or understand or agree with chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightment – it will be you, as your authentic self that will be chopping wood and carrying water.

 

To get to this point may not be easy but it is the ultimate journey. Some practical steps may be to ask which of the things that you are doing now is really things that you do because you believe in them. Is your dreams your own, or did your parents, your co-workers or bosses create them. Do you know what you want? Do you really know what you really want? Do you understand what you want versus what you need? Are you willing to let go of the things that others want of you and can you find it within you to liberate yourself?

 

Things are always easier if you can frame a goal. One such goal may be to allow yourself to let you know yourself better. IF you then start looking at what you know about yourself you may find that is is much more or less than you may have thought.

 

You might not like what you see or you may discover your own awesomeness. It is still recommended to look. Mirrors work for some, paper work for others. Recording you talking to yourself about yourself on your phone and playing it back while driving back from work may work for another. Some people find that they have to pray or meditate to get to know their own complexities. Whatever it is – the journey of self discovery starts by investing this being that is you – getting to the stuck bits and allowing yourself to get unstuck on these.

 

Every human being has an amazing potential and this brings a duty on each of us to discover this every day, to learn about that and to do it all over tomorrow again. If we can all do this – then nothing is undoable and nothing will be undone.