Do You Always Have “To-Do-List”?

The Master does nothing,

yet he leaves nothing undone.

Verse 38 from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

In our society we are taught that we must take action to be accomplished. We are constantly in the midst of our “to do lists.” We teach our kids to be busy all the time with sports, homework, and entertainment. We must constantly be in action to prove to ourselves and those around us that we are a productive member of society. If you are not doing… something… we are wasting time, being lazy and a burden on society. We live in a society that wants instant gratification and to have everything NOW. We want movies, books, music on demand. We want it when we want it so we can have something to do at all times. After all, we wouldn’t want to get bored would we? We want the convenience of 24 hour stores and shopping so everything we desire is at our beck and call. We fill our lives with objects, events, and people so we can constantly be in action. So we can get it all done. We believe that this active lifestyle will get us all that we say we want.

This is one of my favorite verses in the Tao Te Ching. It really helps remind me, and ground me, when I am in the midst of frantically struggling to get everything done that I believe must get done. I am reminded that no matter what my emotional state, whether peaceful or stressed, that the things will get done. The master does nothing and yet leaves nothing undone. Those peaceful words call to mind a place of serenity that allows the world to flow around me and through me. It supports me in slowing down, breathing, and moving through my “to do list” at a slower peaceful pace. All things will get done and those that don’t were not meant to get done. Start where you are, do what you can and let the rest go. No matter how much you struggle, how much you push and no matter how much you rush around doing things, only that which is meant to be done will get done. So why not take the time to be present and fully absorbed with that one thing you are in the midst of? Just be with that one task until it’s completion then gently, easily, and effortlessly move into the next task. Don’t “do” anything. Allow yourself to be and allow the world to be around you.

In love and light




  1. I always have to-do lists. It is my way of organizing so that everything has a “stake in the ground.” (As David Allen of Getting Things Done” says). But that frees me up to not have those things nagging at me. But then when I’m resistant to doing what is next, or what should be done… I do just try to let myself do what I am called to do, and often that works very well for me.

  2. I agree that to do lists can keep you on track. It is when we are adding things to the lists just to have things to do. Purposeful, targeted actions lists support people. Do things just to do things are do not. Also if we always have the time our days completed scheduled where is the place for going with the flow, or allowing inspiration to do. We are always go, go, going, do, do, doing that we have forgotten how to let the gentle voice inside of us guide. That’s why I love the verse. The Master does nothing! He/she allows it to unfold and yet nothing is undone. This reminds that for all my plans, lists and schedules everything is going to unfold in perfect order.

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