Thursday, June 24

Thoughtful Thursday – I Only Do What I Want to Do

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.

~Christian Scripture, Romans 7:15


And now a guest post from Kaspa at Writing Our Way Home (reposted with permission)


tree_imperfection“I only do what I want to do”

Kaspa writes: These words were spoken by my teacher’s, teacher’s teacher Koho Zenji. (My great-grand-teacher?)  Koho Zenji  was one of the most senior abbots at a large training monastery in Japan, a role which came with a whole boat load of duties and a restrictive schedule. Koho Zenji performed his duties and followed the rigorous schedule unerringly; nonetheless he only did what he wanted to do.

If you or I were given such a tight schedule as Koho Zenji, we might resent it, at least some of the time. You might be able to identify some times in your own life where you feel this already. I know that I sometimes drag myself unwillingly to my desk – often in order to complete work that I have set myself (that’s the joy of being self-employed; there’s no one else to blame).

“I only do what I want to do.”

When I heard these few words I was struck by how profound they were.

What Koho Zenji was getting at was that, in contrast to my own life, there is a perfect alignment between what he is required or asked to do and what he feels like doing.

I think this must come from two places. The first is that the jobs that he was asked to do were all valuable. They contributed to the training community in some way, for example. The second is that he had a natural upwelling of desire to do helpful things.

All of us have this impulse, but it is usually blocked to a greater or lesser degree. When I can barely drag myself out of bed, there’s a lot of blocking going on. When I wake up and look forward to work, there’s very little. Most of the time my experience is somewhere in between the two.

Where do these blocks come from?

Usually from some past disappointment. We have failed in the past and felt awful, or succeeded and felt overwhelmed by all the attention… somewhere along the way we learnt it is better not to try at all. Then when we are forced into doing something we end up resenting it.

In my experience there is only one way of moving from the more blocked position to the more open position, and still getting the work done.

  • Make sure the work is a good thing to be doing.
  • Notice the resistance and give it a friendly nod.
  • Do the work.

If we don’t see the resistance and bring it into the light it can end up affecting us in a much more powerful way. If we notice it but still avoid the work then we are just fooling ourselves…

Some resistances are deeper than others. It may be that we really need to spend time taking care of those parts of ourselves which have been disappointed before we can move on. In these cases grab your journal, or a friend, and be curious about what’s stopping you. “What am I protecting?” is a good question to start with. Once you have a handle on this, you can decide whether you still want to do the work, and if you do, move ahead with a new awareness.


A reminder about what Thoughtful Thursday is:

Theos – God, Logos – Words

So, literally, theos-logos, theology, is words about God. These are some of my favorite thoughts! I ask myself what is my relationship to the Divine? What is the Divine’s relationship to others? Other people? Other things? Other components of the world? Other components of the cosmos? How can we stretch our thoughts to be more, simply more?

What are your theos-logos? What questions would you ponder?

Shalom and Amen.



#thoughtful  #findingGod #BeguineAgain


(c) 2013, photo, Terri Stewart

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