Monday Musings Part Six: Don’t Just do Something

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Don’t just do something


How many times have you done something, or said something, only to wish later that you hadn’t? How often have you wished that you could bottle hindsight and sell it as foresight? I have, lots of times. I suspect that’s why I much prefer writing over public speaking—I get to check it and revise it before I put it out there. Not so much when I’m talking.

Time travel hasn’t been invented yet (not as far as I know). Once it’s done, we can’t undo it. We can’t unsay it. Life doesn’t come with a cosmic eraser.

The age-old saying, ‘Don’t just sit there, do something!’ does have it’s applications. However, living that way leads to more strife than not. If we have the opportunity to sit and reflect on what’s good to do, then we should make full use of that chance.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

A Zen temple I used to stay at has a bench in its grounds with a plaque that flipped that saying on its head: Don’t just do something. Sit there! When I first saw it, it gave me a giggle. Only later did the profundity strike me. Only later did I understand the weight in those words.

Life has taught me over and over that any time I respond from anger, hurt, or any other form of intoxication, I fail to respond wisely. Sometimes I get away with it, but usually not. Can I rail against the consequences when I brought it upon myself?

Of course not.

Make no mistake, though. This isn’t a call to inaction. It isn’t a free pass to ignore something that we should be taking care of. Inaction has consequences just the same as action. In fact, inaction is itself an action. It’s a choice, just as surely as doing something is a choice. It’s choosing to do nothing.

The laws of Karma state that every action has a reaction. The same goes for inaction. If we think safety lies in avoidance, we need to think again. We each have choice in our lives; freewill. With such freedom comes responsibility. Which is the reason that every single thing we say, think, or do, is of utmost importance to us. It has a direct effect on how easy or otherwise life is. It has a direct effect on how disturbed or not we feel.

Yes, the tide ebbs and flows and we have no control over that. But why make waves unnecessarily? And, if it’s good to do, then have the courage to do it. Just try not to react blindly.

In the wise words of Zen:

‘Rule your mind, or it will rule you.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links below:






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