Tuesday, August 13, 2013

it's all about reciprocation

Verse 4.11: As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pṛthā.

This verse can be summed up in one word: reciprocation.

If you boil down the word reciprocate, it means to return or requite. That's why I love this verse because there really isn't a topic that's more important to all of us than this one. Reciprocation is what we are searching for in our interactions with one another.

That's because living beings long to love and be loved.

It's not just about loving. It's also not just about being loved. It's both. That give and take is what makes a relationship sweet and interesting. Conversely, one of the greatest causes of anxiety, frustration and hurt results when relationships are not reciprocal. One person gives more emotionally or does more to show their care and when that is not acknowledged and returned, pain can arise in the heart.

Sometimes when persons start to practice yoga or other spiritual paths, they bring along with them the memories of those disappointing experiences. This is often why conceptions of the Divine may be a little but fuzzy because we view everything through the lens of our own experiences. Here, however, the Gita unequivocally states that the Divine also has feelings and reciprocates according to the desires and attitudes of those who not only reach out to Him, but also those who choose to ignore Him. Personally, I've always found that to be so fascinating. In observing others, often if someone is ignored by another, the person who has been ignored will reciprocate the sentiment. The Divine, however, doesn't do that.

That's where the subtlety of yoga really shines through.

In a world where everything is judged by actions, it is a paradigm shift to realize that attitude is actually more important. That's because attitude drives our actions.

The Divine reciprocates not necessarily with what we say or do but what we feel inside. That's why yoga requires introspection and deep thought. It may be easy to fool ourselves, but it's impossible to fool the Divine who is sitting in our hearts observing everything.

Furthermore, when we start expressing our gratitude to the Divine and try to cultivate the sincerity to live a life of compassion and love, we immediately start to experience reciprocation. That reciprocation may come in many different forms such as seemingly serendipitous opportunities, bringing role models into our lives and increased determination and perseverance. For those who are not interested in pursuing such a yogic lifestyle and would prefer to taste the numerous offerings the world has to offer, even then the Divine reciprocates by giving them facility. For those who would negate the existence of a Supreme Person, the Divine allows such souls to exercise their free will to pursue what they choose.

But, for those who genuinely seek to become instruments of compassion and grace, the Divine goes above and beyond by reciprocating in ways we can't even imagine. Facility, intelligence, courage, support and determination are given by the truckloads. So much so that the bhakti yogi becomes even more grateful and genuinely feels that they can never reciprocate adequately.

This is when the possibility of truly becoming selfless can actually become a reality. Such persons have the capacity to be truly selfless and expect nothing in return because they are already in a relationship with someone who is not only reciprocating with them but going above and beyond - the Divine. In this way, such a bhakti yogi just "pays it forward" and helps others.

Such is the power of the reciprocation loop. By offering our heart and attitude to the Divine we can become strong and empowered individuals who are empowered to help others. All we have to do, is try...

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