Do I need what I want? No. What I need, I already have. Getting what I want requires the expenditure of effort. What is acquired through effort will require more effort to protect and maintain. That is what all effort leads to—more effort.
There are two kinds of work: necessary and unnecessary. Can I refrain from unnecessary work? Refrain comes from the Latin word for bridle. Can I refrain from unnecessary speech? It’s not so easy.
The apple is not ripened by trying. Neither are we. “Act without doing; work without effort.”
Does beauty work? The Buddha’s “flower sermon” was wordlessly eloquent on this question. Jesus pointed to field lilies. “Notice,” he said, “how they don’t work.” From what is perhaps the greatest spiritual book ever written: “When nothing is done, nothing remains undone.” Epigraphically, “He worked hard” evokes a sense of limitation and sadness. Conscious doing and hard work? Call it the distance between here and Pluto.
I didn’t know what I was supposed to do until I was 45. As it turned out, I had to do some other things first. Now I see I was never not doing what I was supposed to do.