This is a letter I wrote to a friend who is worried because of a very demanding diet he is following in order to get rid of some health issues. Because of the sacrifices that this diet involves and because we never know if our efforts will actually produce our desired results (in this case, the return to health…but it could be any other thing), my friend was trying to separate his wish to be healthy from the diet. In other words, in order to get rid of his anxiety, he was trying to follow the diet without having expectations. Although this of course has its positive sides, my feeling is that it is precisely the expectations that give fuel to his efforts. This letter is about having expectations – the fuel – without anxiety.
Hello dear friend,
I would like to send you something from my understanding about the situation you find yourself in.
First of all, I understand why you said you wanted to follow the diet without expecting anything from it, but my feeling is that if you do that you will lose the main power that actually allows you to follow such a difficult diet.
If I am not mistaken, the main reason (and it may even be the only reason) you are following such a demanding diet is because you want your health to get better. That is the motivator, the fuel, the fire that allows this to happen. Why will you cut that? You need that force.
Now, it is true that you don’t know if all these efforts you are making will have the result that you want. And this is quiet frightening, but it is also WHAT IS. We are born and one day we are going to die. And that is also frightening, but it is also WHAT IS. And I believe that to live a real life, we need to be connected to WHAT IS.
This is one way I understand WHAT IS:
At any particular moment, there are two things going on. What I like, or dislike, and WHAT IS. What I like or dislike is coming from me, form my mind, from my conditioning, from my past. WHAT IS is coming from a power beyond the mind, beyond myself. We can call it the universe, Life, the total, God, or whatever name we feel comfortable with. Of course the name is not important, but what is very important is the understanding that it is a power greater than me.
And I find it is very important to bring that power back into our everyday life.
As human beings we have the power to act, to choose, to decide. Because of this power, you have chosen to follow a very demanding diet to get healthier. And this intelligence, this power to choose, to act, is our highest gift (this is something that no other creature on the planet has) and we need to honor that, which means we need to do whatever is in our power to choose the best actions for our life. You have taken a course of action, go for it with all your heart.
Now, this is only one part of the story. The part that is in our power. There is the other part of the story, the part that belongs to God.
(What I am going to write now is almost like a technique, so you may want to pay more attention to follow it…)
Whenever we do an action, one second after the action is done, is completed, it becomes part of the universe, it has left our hands. And once the action has become part of it, all the universal laws (the billions of universal laws, known and unknown) will act on the action. The action is going to the universe, and after all the laws act on it, it comes back from it in a processed form we called a RESULT. That result is not directly given by the action, although of course the quality of the action (for example, the energy you put in following the diet, the quality of the effort) will definitely have a powerful influence on it, but the result is given by the totality of the infinite laws that influenced it, and not only by your efforts.
The totality of the universal laws is what I call God. We may know, or think we know, or imagine that we know a few of those laws, but we really have no idea of the totality of them. As Einsten said: “Education is the progressive realization of our ignorance.”
So we take an action based on our intelligence and as soon as the action is done, that action is processed by the universal laws and comes back as a RESULT. In Sanskrit, the word for result is PRASAD. Prasad is a very beautiful word. I will tell you its story.
In India it is very common that you bring some fruit, sweets or some gift to the temple as an offering to God. And so you give your gift, the priest who takes it brings it inside to a place that only priests can enter (the realm of God) and then, after he sings some chants or prayers he gives it back to you but now the gift is called a prasada, a gift from God.
And this is the way we can learn to take whatever we received after we have offered our action.
Instead of denying the reason why you are doing your diet, which is to become healthier, you do your action with the best of your abilities but you also do it as an offering to God. You do it because according to your intelligence it is better to live healthier than with problems. Every day, when you prepare your juices for your diet, you do them with your end result in sight, BUT ALSO (and this is THE thing), you offer your action to God, to the universe. You deposit your action in the altar of the universal laws. That action of yours (preparing the juice, or whatever is that you are doing, with as much awareness and love and intelligence as you are able to and then taking it with the hope that it will help you) is now out of your hands. What happens with the juice inside your system is none of your concern. It is now in the hands of God. And whatever result you get from that, is Prasad, it is a gift from God. If you like what the universe is giving you it’s nice. And if you don’t like what it is giving you it’s nice too, because the universe “knows” what we don’t know. We only know what we like and what we don’t like. But the “vision” of the universe is infinite, and what do we know about that?
If we learn to see life in this way (and this takes time, it takes practice, lots of it) then there are no more worries about what may or may not happen. We do what we have to do based on our intelligence and we do it as an offering to God. Then, whatever God gives us back, we take it as Prasad.
To me*, this is the science of life.
If things are not very clear, you are always welcome to write me back.
I send you a loving hug,
*This is nothing I have invented. These ideas come from antiquity. Because I love them, I have made them part of my own life.