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Lose Yourself In the Act

 

“Once you’ve decided as best as you can [on what you’re going to do], you act, keeping in mind that you are not the actor. While you’re acting, you don’t second guess yourself; you don’t waste your time wondering whether you made the right decision. You’re done deciding–now you’re acting: Be present with your actions. After you’ve finished, if you want to, you can sit back and reflect and say, “Was that the right choice?” That’s different. But while you’re doing it, do it fully. When you’re making tea, make tea. When you’re brushing your teeth, brush your teeth. When you’re making love, make love. Big acts, small acts, whatever it is, be fully there with it. Stop ruining things for yourself with that self-conscious, judgmental holding back.”

– Ram Das, Paths to God
 

What can hold us back from doing the thing is doubt, a feeling that perhaps this is not the right decision.

This passage is from a lecture Ram Das was giving on the Bhagavad Gita at the Naropa Center back in the 70s.

Context: The Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between Arjuna and his charioteer and teacher, Krishna. Arjuna is having an existential crisis. He’s not sure he’s making the right decision. He’s doubting whether or not to move forward. Krishna tells him, it’s too late to go back.

Once you’ve made the decision, commit and commit to it fully. Put your heart and soul into it.

When we give ourselves over to the action, we are no longer the actor but the act itself. We merge with the action.

After we’ve completed the act, Ram Das offers, then we can sit back and reflect on what happened. But not while we’re doing it.
This is yoga – union – a mergence of you and the act.

So family – your homework, if you choose to accept it.
Every act you decide on – do it fully. Regardless of whether that task is big or small. Lose yourself in the act.

Your friend,
Clara

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