There Is Just One Thing To Do

Author
Byron Katie
485 words, 15K views, 14 comments

When you become a lover of what is, there are no more decisions to make. In my life, I just wait and watch. I know that the decision will be made in its own time, so I let go of when, where, and how. I like to say I'm a woman with no future. When there are no decisions to make, there's no planned future. All my decisions are made for me, just as they are all made for you. When you mentally tell yourself the story that you have something to do with it, you're attaching to an underlying belief. […]

I would often return from a long trip to find the house full of dirty laundry, piles of mail on my desk, the dog dish crusted, the bathrooms a mess, and the sink piled high with dishes. The first time this happened, I heard a voice that said, "Do the dishes". It was like coming upon the burning bush, and the voice from the bush said, "Do the dishes." It didn't sound very spiritual to me, but just followed its directions. I would stand at the sink and just wash the next dish, or sit with the piles of bills and pay the one on top. Just one at a time. Nothing else was required. At the end of the day, everything would be done, and I didn't need to understand who or what did it.

When a thought appears, such as "Do the dishes" and you don't do them, notice how an internal war breaks out. It sounds like this, "I'll do them later. I should have done them by now. My roommate should have done them. It's not my turn. It's not fair. People will think less of me if I don't do them now." The stress and weariness you feel are really mental combat fatigue.

What I call "doing the dishes" is the practice of loving the task in front of you. Your inner voice guides you all day long to do simple things such as brush your teeth, drive to work, call you friend, or do the dishes. Even though it's just another story, it's a very short story, and when you follow the direction of the voice, that story ends. We are really alive when we live as simply as that -- open, waiting, trusting, and loving to do what appears in front of us now.

What we need to do unfolds before us, always -- doing the dishes, paying the bills, picking up the children's socks, brushing our teeth. We never receive more than we can handle, and there is always just one thing to do. Life never gets more difficult than that.

--Byron Katie, in 'Loving What Is'