…Or the washing up. Or the hoovering. Or the house admin. Or the work presentation. Or the firing of someone. Or whatever it is that you really don’t want to do.
Firstly, let’s agree that these are not intrinsically awful or boring or scary or cruel.
Some people, for example, won’t even bother reading this article because sorting out their tax is second nature. They may even have made a career out of doing it for other people.
Some people find doing the washing up is the most peaceful part of their day. Same for hoovering.
Some people love talking in public so much that their every waking hour is filled with trying to get onto a stage.
I have been fired by someone who did it so gracefully, easily and thoughtfully that I will love him as long as I live.
In other words, what I am thinking or believing makes doing something either fun or not fun, boring or mind-expanding, a terrifying ordeal or a walk in the park, cruel or kind. It is never the thing itself.
Following the logic of that through, it never matters, therefore, what I am doing. It only matters how clearly I can see that I experience the world through my thinking. The more clearly I see that, the more I simply do what occurs to me to do.
And the more I act with a clear mind, the more I allow my natural intelligence (or Mind as it is described in the Three Principles), to guide me to do the things that will help me the most.
I do what is in front of me to do. I see this as the kindness of this intelligence. It puts in front of us whatever will allow us to expand, move forward and create the healthiest, most joyful, abundant life. I can tell the things that aren’t for me to do because they don’t occur to me or because I can turn away from them without the slightest thought. That book I started and didn’t like. Gone. The person I met who I don’t have a single thought about following up with. Fine to never see them again.
But the stuff that is stubbornly there and keeps coming back to mind no matter how much I try to distract myself, avoid it…. The tax return. The washing up. The presentation. The difficult conversation.
I am avoiding all these things because I have resistance to them. I have resistance to them because there is something in me telling me to do them. The more resistance I have the bigger they seem. The bigger they seem, the more I have to resist them. And in doing this I am planting myself firmly in the way of the perfect design of our mind. Resistance it seems to me is always a sign that there is something there for us to do. Peacefully letting go indicates the opposite.
Because the perfect design is that something comes to mind to do and I do it simply and easily without thinking about it. I know deep down that doing it will expand or simplify or improve my life in some way. I do it and space is created for the next thing to occur to me. I do that too. I move through life with ease and grace.
What happens for most of us is often the opposite scenario. Take me and tax returns for example (hence the headline). I think I hate doing my tax return. I avoid doing it. It hangs over me. The more it hangs over me the more stressed my thinking. I resist doing it and it becomes a huge deal in my mind. Even the thought of it makes me a bit shaky and nauseous. I start to make it who I am… I’m rubbish at accounts. I’m disorganised… I don’t have a head for figures… I do other things to avoid thinking about the tax and all the while it is there looming over me. My mind is filling up with clutter and slowing down like a rusting engine.
Personally, I know I would much rather hang out in a clear state of mind but how do I get to that clarity that allows me to just do what I know deep down will help me?
The answer is to see through our thinking. (nb. This is always the answer whatever the question). And one of the ways we we can do this is with what I call the Cold Water Leap.
The Cold Water Leap
Have you ever really wanted to go for a swim but found yourself standing on the edge of the pool or up to your ankles in the sea imagining how cold the water is and how freezing you will be if you jumped in?
The imaginary temperature of the imaginary water is too off-putting. Sadly you turn around and walk back. Shame. You really wanted a swim. You sit on your towel and watch the others having a great time in the water.
Or… you close your eyes, take a deep breath and launch yourself in. A cold shock initially but after 10 seconds you are bobbing around shouting smugly to anyone still on the side, “Come on in! The water’s lovely!”
This is the ‘just f*****g do it’ approach. And the great thing about it is that it crashes through all the thinking we have about something and about ourself in relation to that thing in seconds. Because when we are there in the middle of the water (the real water with its real temperature), or the tax return or the washing up or the conversation, we are always fine. It was only the thinking that was the problem.
Under all our thinking and resistance, we know what we want: a great swim, no fines, a healthy business, a creative life, loving relationships, clean plates… And knowing this we can take the leap straight into the middle of the thing.
With one jump we can go from lazy slob who hates washing up to someone who is washing up. We can go from someone who is too disorganised to file her taxes to someone who is filing her taxes. From someone who could never take on the responsibility of firing a colleague to someone who is firing colleague.
Now excuse me, I have something that I am going to do…