Fall is often a whirr of activity – back to school, the launch of a new season of yoga offerings. Exciting and invigorating like the crisp, cool air of the season. The challenge here is to tap into that vital energy and momentum while staying grounded so that you can actually enjoy it! On another note, fall may signal a time you wish you were starting something, but you haven’t quite gotten it all lined up yet. Whenever there is an issue related to action, it reminds me of the principles of Karma Yoga as articulated in the Bhagavad Gita.
Akarmani Karma (Inaction in Action):
First, recognize the inaction that is in action. Finding the place of peace, or right alignment from which that initiative comes and taking time to tap into that essence or that pure intention. Visualize, map out, draw and foresee the nutshell of what you’re putting out for this fall and how it aligns with all that you do or a specific need in your community. Next, plans, scheduling and getting the word out will become more organic according to the intension. If there is truly alignment with your intention, purpose and what you are trying to do, there will be an almost effortless effort.
The same goes for juggle the activities of a busy household. If you can isolate the activities that are really at the heart of what your family wants to do this season, you will be able to direct energy towards those most vital or inspiring. You will be able to preserve your stamina, perhaps choose to do less and savour those activities that are a balance between the most necessary and the most enjoyable.
Nishkama Karma (Desireless Action):
When we do something from a place of alignment or higher purpose, there is a second aspect, and that is to put it forward without attachment to the fruits or for its own sake. For example, if you want to offer a new yoga class or satsang, if you have looked at step 1, and figured out what it is really about and who it may serve, and how it fits with you as the offerer, it follows that you will know where and how to put the word out. But at first there may be just a few people. Nishkama karma reminds us that whether there is one person or one hundred people, if you are able to hold space for that and continue and just be in the process for its own sake, a way forward will soon make its way known.
Sometimes this appears in a different way in our lives. We may in fact be so nervous about the success of a certain venture (teaching a new course, publishing a piece of writing, taking up a new art) that we shrink into inaction and wait for it to be delivered on a silver platter, saying, if the universe wants it to happen, it will somehow manifest. This is the action that is in inaction — the fear or flip side of motivation that causes inertia. Ironically, letting go of attachment to the fruits, letting go of the insecurities and fears of success can bring us closer to actually doing the things that we feel we’re meant to do. Letting go of the desire (grasping, clinging, fears of success or failure, insecurities at not being enough) can actually liberate purposeful action and get us out of a place of stuck-ness. Nishkama karma does not mean we abandon the preparations and hard work needed to produce good work. Rather, it means we let go of the under-current of emotions that may actually be holding us back from the steps needed to be in our dharma! Always check the flip-side.
What’s holding you back from something you’ve been thinking of starting for a while now? Examine it from both the angle of right intention and letting go of un-necessary emotion that may be tied to launching into it, and see what arises!