You Have To Do Stuff To Succeed–Is That True?

I was sitting on the squishy white sofa, avocado green pillow at my back, my friend Gail next to me on my right. The overhead fan slowly spun above, and the room soft and cool. Gathered ’round are 8 other friends in comfy chairs. The room is quiet, but buzzing with silent energy.

Then something happened inside my mind and heart, and it was very, very good.

So good I was moved to tears. They streamed down my cheeks for the sheer gratitude and surprise and recognition.

I’ll try to explain what it was.

I’m on retreat with a small group of friends, as you know, exploring reality… favorite.

Of course, every single day is an exploration of reality. You’re doing it today, yourself.

But there I was, in meditation, and thinking about consciousness. We were contemplating familiar questions many spiritual teachers ask “Who is looking? Who is listening? What is it that is aware right now?”

I was talking with Ross, the teacher I’ve been with on retreat, and inquiring into these questions. I didn’t really get it…even though I could feel something potent.

Ross asked me “Where do your words come from right now, as you’re talking? Right NOW?”

And suddenly I could see how immediate were these words that spilled out of my mouth, the words that formed a question I had just asked, or a sentence I had just spoken.

The sound of these words was born, just a split second ago. The feeling behind these words was flowing forth. I didn’t invent them, they simply were created.

I could feel where these words just came from, so very close. Like this sensation of nothing becoming something. A fabulous empty vast energy.

Where do your words come from, when you are talking?

Is everything like this? It is simply born, without me doing anything, really?

You have to “do” things….to live well, to succeed, to achieve, to get something, to wake up, to make peace, to have good relationships, to make money. All of these states require YOU to DO something to get them.

Is that true?

Yes. At least that’s what I’ve always thought. Of course I have to do things! Are you NUTS?! I would otherwise sit around all day snacking and staring into space.

But are you sure you have to do stuff? Are you sure you must manage, direct, and do?

No. I’m not sure anymore. No. This is suddenly today, much less true than ever before today.

How do you react when you believe you have to do things in life?

I know it’s a weird question, a weird concept. So much of what we hear is how we HAVE to, we MUST, we SHOULD (fill in the blank).

But who would you be without that thought? Who would you be without the belief that you have to do anything?

As Adyashanti once said when I was on retreat with him, just try to sit on the couch for once, without making yourself get up….see if you can get up when you get up, no forcing.


But wait.

Without getting all deep and mixed up and crazy about it, I see who I would be without the thought that I need to do anything in order to be happy.

It’s astonishing.

Very exciting. Unexpected.

Not resigned, slow, waiting, stubborn, or giving up. Not that kind of non-doing. This is a thrill of watching whatever is created in any moment. Paying attention. Noticing that stuff happens constantly, and you can do what you do and relax.

“You know, all that’s required of me is that I be good enough just to sit in this chair now. It’s doesn’t matter what my mind says. That’s all that’s required of me….Only a huge ego could say that you’re supposed to be doing something that you’re not doing.” ~ Byron Katie

I turn the thoughts around: You have to Un-Do things, or donothing….to live well, to succeed, to achieve, to get something, to wake up, to make peace, to have good relationships, to make money.

None of these states require YOU to DO anything to get them.

Just be yourself instead.

A gorgeous being of love, light, peace, wonder.

And if you’re not sure that’s true….question your stressful beliefs.

“Practice not doing, and everything will fall into place.” ~ Tao Te Ching #3

That’s what made me cry today.

Love, Grace


9 Replies to “You Have To Do Stuff To Succeed–Is That True?”

  1. Hi Leaf,

    I really like what you have to say too “focus on being the being.” That says to me that actions can be included as part of the being rather than splitting “being” and “doing.” I can be the being who does take actiond, but I do not have to take credit for what (or if any) results come from the actions. Although I do believe that any actions that are taken while I’m in flow being the being will be such a reflection of my harmonious state of being.

  2. Thank you, Grace, this post is as synchronous and serendipitous as always – which of course is exactly the issue. For me the issue is feeling how to f(ol)low with the f()low.
    A central cultural tenet is ‘you have to make an effort to make yourself do what you have to do; if you have to make an effort to do it, that shows it’s what you have to do’. The effort required to do something seems an indicator that something needs doing, if we believe that reluctance indicates our resistance to our recognition that we have to do it, no matter or even because of how much effort is entailed, how hard it is, how much we don’t want to do it. Your post upends this belief. It shows us we can focus fully simply on being the being, and then being any doing will simply follow, will flow.

  3. This is one of my favorite blog posts from you. It reminds me a lot of the philosopher Alan Watts. He’s absolutely fantastic and hilarious! I’ve learned so much from him about me letting go of any idea that “I” do anything at all. It’s all created and “I” just can’t take credit for it. I don’t have to do anything at all. Just like you said. This idea of me “not having to” makes me want to. It makes me want to take actions for my business just for the transformation of taking them knowing that “I” am not actually the one “making” something happen. I take the actions and the divine will does what it does with them. I can take the actions for the actions sake. I can take the actions without them being a means to an end. I am certain though that taking on this mentality will be a delightful challenge as normally my human mind says…”But if I’m taking this action ‘I’ need to make sure I produce a result called getting some clients.”

    Also, one more bit, I actually do KNOW that it’s true that I don’t have to “do” something to “make” money. Does a flower just absorb the sun’s gift of sunlight or does it have to work brutally hard for it? No, it does nothing at all. It receives.

    As an experiment I started visualizing checks coming in the mail, random checks. They did come. First they started small, then they got a little larger. The largest one was for $220 and I used it to pay someone back. I had said “I need this money to pay my coach back and I don’t know how it will be there, but it will.” Then it came at the perfect time. I think all of this made me realize I am definitely part of the universe. Also, guess what! I get to go to a Byron Katie 1 day event in Woodacre, CA on August 30th! Very excited.

  4. That was so great. What a relief if it could really sink in. But hearing the words for now is quite wonderful. Thanks Grace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form, you are granting: Work With Grace, 17102 Brentwood Place NE, Lake Forest Park, WA, 98155, permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy ( for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.