The work is to live aligned with our life. To put ourselves in accord with the Tao. And see where it goes and what is being asked of us moment-to-moment in each situation as it arises. Our original nature-- which has nothing to do with what we want/desire, and everything to do with our natural impulses and propensities toward one thing and away from another-- it a trustworthy guide, a reliable pilot for our boat on its path through the sea. We are not alone on the journey, and have everything we need to find our life and live it-- to know what's what and what is called for in each situation that develops over the course of our life, but must maintain regular and reliable connection with the silence and with the source of life and being in order to know what we know and do what needs to be done. This is the way of living from the center, with balance and harmony, sincerity and serenity, without contrivance or exploitation, spontaneously responding to the moment and rising to every occasion with what is appropriate and necessary for the time and place of our living. To do so is to live successfully as a free and independent human being with liege devotion and filial loyalty to our gifts/genius/daemon and our place in "the great scheme of things"-- at one with the cosmos and in sync with the AUM... of existence.
We are always Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In every moment we are faced with their choice: To seize the moment, assume control, take our life in our own hands, and throw ourselves into doing what appears to be in our own interest moment-by-moment, day-by-day, in each situation as it arises-- contriving to turn every opportunity into its best possible outcome, exploiting each occasion to serve our desire du jour and live happily ever after, or until the next moment, whichever comes first. The alternative to The Garden of Eden is, of course, The Garden of Gethsemane, with it's "Thy will, not mine be done." This is the redeeming, atoning, option-- and the Return to Eden-- if we could only see it as such. But the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve have their own idea about what is good (for them), and so, we opt again and again, for The Way of Eden and not The Way of the Cross. We live in The Wasteland all our life long, with Paradise one slight perspective shift away throughout our days upon the earth. Understanding the "Thy" in the Gethsemane formula to be "Our Life As It Might Yet Be," or, as the ancient Chinese understood the term, "The Tao of Life and Being" flips the switch, "turns the light around," and transforms the Wasteland to Paradise before our eyes. Submitting to The Tao, acquiescing to the need of the moment for the right action done in the right way at the right time, here and now, moment-by-moment in each situation as it arises, is the miraculous transition from My Way to The Way, and the Return to Eden and to Life As It Needs To Be. Eden or Gethsemane? Death presenting itself as life, or death as the doorway to life? Which will it be here and now every day?
We perceive what is important-- what matters most-- moment-to-moment in each situation as it arises. And do it. Here and now. The way it needs to be done. Finding--not forcing--the way. Listening--not imposing. Looking--not insisting. Like a butcher holding the knife, but allowing the knife to show him the path between gristle and meat, bone and bone. Moment-to-moment all our life long.
Happiness is being at peace with the way things are. Unhappy is being out of sorts with the way things are. Letting the way things are get to you is the way of happiness. Refusing to let the way things are get to you is the way of happiness. People who let the way things are get to them think they have no choice in the matter. It is automatic with them. There is no distance between them and the way things are. They do not know how to distance themselves from the way things are. They do not know where they stop and where the way things are start. They need to enter the silence and wonder about these things. People who do not let the way things are get to them know where they stop and where the way things are start. They know what they can do about the way things are and what they cannot do, and they understand that their place is to adapt themselves to the way things are, not to force the way things are to mesh with their wishes for how things ought to be. They grasp the saying: "This is the way things are, and this is what you can do about it, and that's that-- and that is the way things are." The people who let the way things are get to them will not accept this fundamental fact about the way things are. Our happiness depends upon our being able to accept this fundamental fact about the way things are. Until we do that, we are going to be unhappy when things don't go our way. And when they do go our way-- because then we will be worried about how long it is going to be before they stop going our way. And the very idea of that will make us unhappy.