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Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
Blogs about inhabiting this present moment

What Do You "Have To" Do in Life?

Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Updated: Sep 9th 2013

All "have to's" that simply are not so in reality take away engaging your apparent choices in life. Said differently, we are choiceless over genuinely real "have to's." Thus, it's critical to know what you actually have to do in life so that the remainder informs of what you can exercise real choice over. The likely suspects of pay taxes, go to work, earn money, pay bills, show respect and so on simply don't qualify. Although each is a responsible thing to do and thus highly recommended, none made the "have to" list. How about mow your lawn, keep a clean house, wear make-up, be presentable or shower regularly. None of these are activities do you have to do either. So what qualifies?

3D figures with chat bubblesAs I've sat inside this question with a wide variety of people over the last quarter century it became clear that there was very little that anyone really had to do. Some mentioned breath, eat food, drink fluids, have shelter, wear clothing, adequate hygiene, human contact, elimination, movement, urge to procreate/engage in sexual interactions and survival. Wrapping these all together on a minimal lifestyle basis, this qualifies as bare-bones existing (care of the body/basic survival).

Inevitably people mention death and taxes. While strongly recommended you contribute taxes, it is not a "have to." People are correct that dying is a have to. At least our vehicle known as our body does die, although death is ultimately a hoax given that who we are beings that were never born and can never die. For the longest time these two items were all that appeared to qualify as "have to's." Over plenty of experience with "have to's" in my practice, the apparent choices in life have expanded a whopping 350%!

It is undeniable that as human beings we are highly social animals and we have relations with all sorts of living things and environments. There just seems to be no getting around three other genuine "have to's." With change charging at us like a runaway locomotive on a moment-by-moment basis, we all have some relationship with change, including aging, whether healthy, adaptive and functional or not or anywhere in between, and on the highest level adapting and being as one with all change. Similarly, we will have some sort of relationship with the world of people, things and environments, whether we happen to like it or not, be minimally or maximally engaged, be a hermit or a socialite, again on the highest level being as one with all the stuff not as some "object" or "other."

With even the lack of a communication being a communication (just consider your mate's "silent scream" for instance), sending and receiving messages in communication is inevitable. Communication can be in several forms including verbal, non-verbal including physical behaviors as well as energetically.

There is simply no way to exist as a human being without communication of some sort.There is simply no getting around it for anyone in having some relationship with the imaginary self or ego whatever form that takes, whether letting it completely run your life, or largely benching it unless it can be a tool with skill sets to use when appropriate, or ultimately the ego merging with your heart in complete support of who you truly are and the Truth. It is a revealing relief to remember that the ego is purely a concept or construct, is not a part of consciousness and actually does not exist at all. None of this list of "have to's" in the relative world or any optional choices need be allowed by the ego to be made into willful, gainful agendas!

And whatever your religious and spiritual beliefs may be, every one will have some relationship with God or a Higher Power, and on the highest level even be as one inhabiting this expression of Divinity, as "I am That" expresses. Certainly this applies to all who have a spiritual life and faith, all those practicing a religion, and all atheists and agnostics. As God is Love, this one includes the presence of Love, accepted or not.

Engaging our apparent choice occurs when we accept these seven "have to's" as the givens of human life on earth as our egos know of it, and perceive all that remains for exactly what it is: optional, elective, choice and up to us. Everything that "didn't make the list" is optional, elective, your apparent choice and what you make of it! All "have to's" are part and parcel of "the human experience" here on earth. Within a context of what is optional and elective, what did not make the "have to" list, we are all free to live what apparent choices are available to us.

Of course, another perfectly valid answer for what we "have to" do for our real natures and True Self on the plane of the Absolute is absolutely nothing. Imagine what is beyond freedom and servitude, liberation and bondage, all polarities and dualities.


Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.

Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. is a seasoned clinician in private practice in Pleasanton, CA in the East San Francisco Bay area. Licensed as a psychologist in California since 1987 and in the field since 1976, he specializes in Presence-centered therapy principally with adults and couples. Presence-centered therapy is a conscious attuning to the richness of this present moment (sometimes called mindfulness or wakefulness) along with witnessing, that is, observing what the mind is up to now by looking from outside of it. His practice is centered upon inhabiting this present moment, witnessing and "buying out" of the ego-mind's unworkable patterns, desensitizing root emotional charges, and gaining effective tools to thrive in the world. He specializes in providing therapy for adults facing anxiety, significant stress, work issues, relationship challenges and depression as well as couples with marital issues, communication issues, self-defeating behavior, divorce mediation, co-parenting and pre-marital counseling. Core to his approach is installing, building and developing strong internal resources, an enhanced capacity to hold, bear and tolerate strong emotions, and highly adaptive tools to better thrive in the world.He can be reached directly through his website (featuring over 215 articles, 27 YouTube videos and pages upon pages of highly practical annotated resource links) or by email at . Dr. Friedman is available for business consulting, business training and executive coaching (detail on his home page).

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