What to do when you don’t know what to do


Just stop.

Stop. Pause. Take a break. Rest. Hold still. Cease and desist. Be still. Just be.

And listen. To your heartbeat. To the sounds around you.

After a moment or two, you can start all over again.

Maybe now you will know what to do.

And if you don’t know what to do, then don’t do anything.

Don’t do anything until you know what to do.


About FS

Toronto, Canada. Writing about slices of life, the moments and minor details of which come into awareness or out of imagination and the spaces inbetween.
This entry was posted in CHANGE, Life, Mindfulness and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to What to do when you don’t know what to do

  1. Zee says:

    Please don’t apologise for the long riffs.

    These are immensely insightful exchanges indeed.

    The premise reminds me so much of the “Original Face’ zen koan.

    Also, I’m pretty much on the same page as you on everything else too

    – We do not know where our decisions come from.
    – Our obsession is greater with doing as opposed to being.
    – And the undervalued & overlooked sanctity of small everyday tasks.

    Looking forward to more posts from you 🙂


  2. Zee says:

    “Don’t do anything until you know what to do” – What if you never know what to do? What if life acts through you without needing the acknowledgement or approval of your intellect?

    I mostly don’t do anything unless someone else wants me to do it. Like if a client has a deadline for me or a friend wants some help with a project.

    Ever come face to face with the never ending apathy that lies in the abyss of existential experience? Why do anything? Or rather why attempt to do anything?

    When I do something I am that thing. But when I don’t do anything, why don’t I rest in the peaceful void?

    Like deep sleep but wide awake.

    I never feel motivated to do anything. But should I not be doing something?

    Why does this battle rage within me?

    • FS says:

      hmmmm…. … well, I could riff off of your questions: intellect is only part of the equation of being human. Heart and guts play a big role. It’s easy to go along with what others want us to do. No risk there, except perhaps of not taking a risk of making a choice. On the other hand, we live in a culture that believes in doing, doing doing, and often, that’s at the expense of being. It’s a historic, or religious thing. We’re bad, or depressed if we don’t want to do anything. Devil and idle hands and all that stuff. Perhaps it’s not a battle but a signal? Or a question. Life is life. My own has been a cork on the ocean existence, guided (and misguided) by trying to just be the best version of myself. I failed lots of times. And succeeded lots of times too. And yes: that existential nihilist moment, of not knowing, of wondering, and seeing then beginning, middle or end, and wondering..is life is worth it..? Yes, I have faced it. It seemed, at the time, an abyss. But it wasn’t.

      • Zee says:

        By heart & guts do you mean those decisions that stem from our unborn / undying wisdom? As opposed to those that stem from our limited knowledge of things. Did you mean that? I ask because these days, I’m finding it hard to discern between intellect, heart and guts.

        There is no concern about Risks or Choices. Those illusions have long been dissolved. But what should follow hasn’t quite yet appeared or made itself visible.

        Its Reminiscent of that scene from the Matrix series where Neo is stuck on a train station between two worlds. There is an undying apathy, the motivation to do is not there anymore except perhaps in little things like making a cup of tea.

        “Nihilist” Moment? Why does one name it? Aren’t all the so called -isms colours on the same palette? Each one equally vital to and equally a part of the grand symphony?

      • FS says:

        I suppose there are different belief systems at play. 😉 Is there an unborn/undying wisdom? We can’t know that. A Grand Symphony? Maybe.
        Faith is a fascinating thing. But even so, in Western culture, DOING is more important than just BEING, and that seems rather sad. There’s lots and lots of unnecessary doing. Like shopping as a favourite pastime.

        The trains in the matrix — caught between two stations. Perhaps the stations he’s caught between is the space between birth and death. Goodness only knows: the Matrix can read as an Eastern or Western religious allegory…. but what is real and true just might be to make and enjoy some tea ;-).

  3. tinababab says:

    Life huh. Never clear.

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