Actions and its Results

Many times life seems difficult. And sometimes it may be, bad things may happen, but most times, what makes life so difficult is that we want things to happen the way we want them to happen. 

I imagine that for many people this last statement may sound funny, even ridiculous, and they may say something like: ‘of course I want things to happen the way I want them to happen! What is so wrong or bad about it?’
And of course there is nothing wrong. Except that the results of our actions are not up to us

What is up to us, what we can control (to a certain extent) is what we do in this moment; and this is all. What happens, what appears, the result of what we do is not up to us, is not in our hands. 

In our modern time and age we are told, repeatedly, that we can and should! control the results, but is just not true. If it were, there would not be so much anxiety, so much stress, so much unhappiness. 

We have so much, we have more than enough to be content with what we have: we reading this note and we as a Western society in general are very probably not going to go hungry or cold. We have all our basic needs fulfilled and still, most people are continuously stressed and anxious. 
Because we fight with ‘what is’. 

What we don’t understand (and understandably so) is the fact that what is up to us is only what we can do in the moment, now. And whatever it is that we can do now, we can think of it as a ripple in an ocean; this ripple will certainly have an effect in what is going to happen, but the result is never only up to the ripple, never only up to us, but about the whole ocean. 
And the reason we make life difficult for ourselves is because we don’t deeply understand this basic and fundamental principle of life. And instead, we struggle, fight and resist ‘what is’. 

Having said all this, what we need to ‘struggle’ and ‘fight’ with is what we can do now, in the sense of trying to do whatever is that we can do better, more attentively, with more information and knowledge, more awarely, more precisely, more caringly, etc. We need to try to do what we can do to the best of our abilities at every moment of our lives, including planning and preparing for what is going to come. 
But then – and this is the whole point – what happens with what we did, the result of our action is not up to us. Whatever we are dealing thing – our job, our loved ones, our hopes and desires, money, heath, possessions, whatever it is – we can and should do the best we can. But, the result of what we do is not up to us but up to the whole, to the big picture, to the Universe, whatever name we want to give it. 

Yes, I know. People that are successful will laugh at this and people that are not will probably like it. 
But this has nothing to do with being successful or not. It is just a law of life, like gravity and motion. 

It is a law that needs to be understood; a law we need to come into peace with. 
What happens depends on so many, infinite variables! I often call it the Universe; some old traditions call it karma; in our modern times we may refer to it as luck*. 

Understanding this principle gives us an enormous amount of freedom; freedom to act, to move in the world, to do what needs to be done. By understanding this principle we get rid of fear, anxiety and worry: all is up to me is what I can do, and so I do it to the best of my abilities. Then, a result comes. I may like it or I may not. But because it is not up to me, I am not lost in it, my mind remains open and alert, and I am able to see with more clarity if more needs to be done or not. And so I do, things happen, and I do again, and more things happen, and I keep acting and moving accordingly. 
Sometimes things happen the way I want them to, sometimes they don’t. I just keep moving and acting, or enjoying, according to what appears in the moment. 

This principle is not new, it has been around for thousands of years and in very diverse cultures and times. 

For example, Epictetus, 2000 years ago, said: 
“Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.”

Or in the „Bhagavad Gita”, Krishna says to Arjuna: 
‘You have the right to work only, and not to the fruits of work. Let not the fruit of action be your motive, nor let your attachment be to inaction. Giving up all attachment, unmindful of success or failure, do your work. Such equanimity of mind is called Yoga.’

It is nothing new, but for us, for most people, it is something we did not know and we are now just barely starting to understand. And because of this, it is something we need to bring into our minds often, very often. 
The worries, the anxieties, the fears will keep coming, the old conditioning will keep appearing, but when it does, we need to confront it with the truth: all is up to me is what I can do in this moment; whatever happens is not in my hands and so I need to learn not to worry about it. 

We just need to open the eyes, quiet the mind and do whatever needs to be done in this moment with all the love, attention and force we are able to give. 
The rest – for better or worse – will take care of itself. 

* To me, luck is a very poor, unrefined, incomplete idea, but even calling it luck already signals that it is something that it is not up to us

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