A YOGI CHA BLOG
Everyday integrity : be the warrior Arjuna of your mind’s daily battlefield.
The topic of integrity can have so many layers and be very vast in terms of field of focus so I will continue today on this because most of us fall short in everyday life with integrity.
It’s a bit like we do it with yoga or meditation, with eating plant based and so on. We get motivated by the promise of a better life and so we binge while we are in the moment. Then we step off the mat or the meditation cushion or come home from the retreat, and we go back to what we always do. Forgetting that the real work starts there. Forgetting that (what I always love to use as an analogy): It’s easy to be a Buddha on a mountain. It’s when you come down from the mountain and into the village is when you are really doing the work.
The reason it becomes hard is because we are constantly triggered by two things : fear and desire. What I mean by that is that instead of seeing things clearly and acting from a place of wholeness, we react to fear and desire. So we manipulate our behaviour because these two drives have manipulated our intentions. All of a sudden it becomes far more difficult to “do for the sake of doing, not for an expected result”. It becomes hard to be righteous, to follow that intuitive signal of the spontaneous right action. So how do we take that equanimous state we cultivate on the cushion into our daily doings?
The principles of karma yoga are taught to us in the Bhagavad Gita where Lord Krishna is helping the warrior Arjuna in deep sorrow. He is in this state because he doubts his duty as a warrior in the battle that is to come. He must face his own family in war and for this reason he breaks down in tears.
Krishna here gives him the teaching of Yoga. He reminds him of his dharma in life as well as the impermanence of the physical body to help him see clearly.
So as we are taught what Yoga is from the perspective of the Bhagavad Gita, we learn that yoga is skill in action. It means to develop our action, our skill non-attached to the outcome so that the skill, the yoga actually, stands in itself as the action. Only then is it truly powerful, because it is non-dependent of external validation.
This is such a powerful message because it can be understood from any perspective. In your personal relationships, in your relationship to money, work and nature at large.
Can you see how this approach to yoga is just like all other martial arts we have been gifted with from old traditions?
These martial arts are not about killing any more than yoga is about handstands or eka pada sirsasana / aka foot-behind-the-head pose? It is meditation in movement which means that it is a continuous training of the mind to be present and attentive. The mind has to stay equinamous in this movement so that nothing disturbs it. The outcome has no importance, you are simply here and you are simply now. Be here now like Ram Dass would say.
Krishna tells Arjuna : victory and defeat are the same. Act but don’t reflect on the fruit of the act. Seek detachment, fight without desire. And he explains that the objection to going to war is not about the act of war. Instead he says :
“Your objection to slaying is your fear of slaying. You do not have a genuine objection to slaying.”
If you abstain yourself from an evil action for fear, you have not really liberated yourself from evil. As long as we are motivated by fear or desire, we are incapable of truly moral actions.
Only those actions that are truly moral which are unmotivated. If you are motivated to do good by fear, your good may by other circumstances be evil.
As long as we have a motive, our actions are not free but instead reactions.
This text has been misinterpreted many times, especially when there is a desire to imply that it glorifies war or killing.
But this could not be further from the truth.
If you wish that your life takes a turn for clarity, you must begin with analysing your actions. Confusion is not of the physical but instead manifests on the level of the mind. However, the mind is a terrible master if we let it guide our physical body in its actions. When our actions come from a confused mind, they lack intention and direction. This is how we end up feeling lost and wondering what to do next.
This promise of a skillful action, taken without fear or desire of an outcome but purely because of the spontaneous right action would be the remedy. Take any part of your life where you currently feel lost. Where you are heading professionally, finding a partner or deepening your relationship to just name a few. If you could train yourself to act instead of reacting to fear or desire so that you simply follow what is the right thing to do, what would you imagine the result could be?
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