Monday, September 2, 2013

asking the tough question

Verse 4.19: One is understood to be in full knowledge whose every endeavor is devoid of desire for sense gratification. He is said by sages to be a worker for whom the reactions of work have been burned up by the fire of perfect knowledge.

Why is it so difficult to put things into practice? We may theoretically understand so many things and accept them on an intellectual level, but when it comes to the practical application, many of us face a block.

For those who are trying to live a life of simultaneous gratitude and unattachment, this is often a conundrum. When we read bhakti texts like the Gita and hear from those who live such lives, we feel inspired and hopeful. We too can do it! But when it comes to actually putting in all our endeavours and efforts and offering it selflessly to the Divine as a token of our appreciation, something powerful interrupts us. These things can cause us to promptly fall back into our old way of thinking and doing things which is often that of - I perform x activity and expect y result.

One such challenge can come in the form of doubt. When doubt steps in, it can cause us to question what will happen if we let go of our attachment to the results of our endeavour. "Maybe I'll become too spiritual! What if I just stop caring about everything? I want to be normal and if I start actually becoming unattached, I might not be able to relate to others." Such types of conversations can start to take place in our mind.

When these doubts start to cloud our consciousness, it's very easy to become apprehensive. It causes us to become fearful of the unknown - in this case what will happen to us if we actually live a life of gratitude and detachment. Ultimately, it can be a vicious cycle that leads to more doubts and more apprehension.

Ultimately though, the root cause of all these misgivings is fear. The fear that our efforts to express gratitude and appreciation will go unrecognized. Although we may believe in a Divine power and personality who is giving us everything, do we really and truly believe?

The practice of performing akarmic work is more than just attitude. It prompts us to ask the tough questions and really look inside our hearts. Do we have unshakable faith that there is something greater than us and that the Divine is there ready and waiting to reciprocate with us? When we are able to answer that question honestly, irregardless of whether it is a no, yes or somewhere in between, then we can truly start to live a life of gratitude and selflessness.


  1. Lovely post! I have been studying yogic texts over the summer and this past weekend I completed an intensive study of the Gita. I love how you talk about doubt and fear clouding life. If we truly believe, then there is no doubt or fear because we know we have everything and that we are loved, loved deeply regardless of how much or how well we did. It helps me greatly to focus my efforts on the process and I recently thought of every process as doing the dishes for a friend, as an offering of love that doesn't matter if it is recognized. Thanks!

    1. Thanks so much Jackie! That is SO amazing that you spent the summer studying the yogic texts and that you had an opportunity to immerse yourself in the study of the Gita this past weekend. May I ask where you did this?

      Doubt and fear on their own aren't positive or negative. However, when they interfere with our ability to place our faith and trust into something, then it's really important to introspect and determine whether that lack of trust is based in reality or not!

      Wonderful to hear that you are trying to practice this art of gratitude and detachment. Please feel free to share your comments and realizations! :)