Saturday, December 5, 2015


       One of the most common recommendations to aspirants, as proscribed in the ancient manuals, is to adopt the practice of  “ giving up or surrendering or renouncing the fruits of one’s actions.” For many these words have a sacrosanct ring to them, implying that spiritual progress is seriously impaired without voluntarily being dispossessed or ‘detached’ from one’s ‘fruits.’
         You decide to bake a surprise cake for your friend’s birthday.
         Your action begins by collecting the required utensils and ingredients. You prepare the batter and submit it to the oven heat in a timely manner. Throughout the preparation, pleasant feelings of anticipation spontaneously arise.
         The baking is complete. The cake is the finished product—the fruit of both your skillful actions and your affection. You deliver the gift to your friend and it’s accepted.
         There, you offered the fruits of your action. The conventional understanding is that you give away the total result of your actions, an unselfish act on your part, and you receive nothing, zero, nor expect compensation in return. Full renunciation.
         Now let’s take an appreciative look at what occurs during this unfolding event.
         First, one can’t help but enjoy doing an action skillfully. Just take a look at  Olympic performers. Your varying moments of enjoyment arise from and accompany the ongoing result of your deliberate actions in preparing the eventual cake. If you could separate the evoked, pleasant feelings from the action then you would be doing it rather mechanically and perhaps less skillfully. But as a motivated, able cake baker you can’t help but spontaneously enjoy manifesting that skill in the production of the cake. You like what you are doing. Moreover, sight, odor, and taste confirm the worthiness of your production. You are pleased with the ensuing result.
         In other words, you don’t bake with unfeeling indifference. Your kitchen is not a vacant courtroom. On the contrary, you are enjoying the art of your baking skill as you express it throughout the preparation of your cake. This fruit of enjoyment is naturally yours.
         Secondly, the performance of your baking ability and the resulting tasty cake enhances the habit of your skill. How else to improve performance without diligent practice? Thus, unavoidably you receive the immanent fruit of your consummate action which, in turn, advances the quality of your baking ability. Again, this fruit is naturally yours.
         Thirdly, when you presented your gift that was graciously received, how did you feel in your friend’s reception of the “fruit of your actions”? Did you just turn your head away as though dismissing a traffic report? Hardly. Rather you joined in the celebration and felt glad for his positive acceptance. How could you not experience a sense of satisfaction for a job well done and appreciated? Again, this fruit is naturally yours.
         Fourthly, the cake itself, the concrete fruit of your skillful actions is not designated for its baker. The baker willingly relinquishes all claims upon the product. Possession changes hands. The baker fulfills her intent by bestowing the fruit of her labor upon the accepting hands of the principal recipient. This fruit is simply designated for him or her.
         When you perform an unselfish action towards someone, the final result does not leave zero on one side for the giver and the fullness of the gift on the other side for the receiver. Examining the unfoldment of the entire event, one perceives how all parties benefit differently. Even if the Olympic champions gave away the concrete fruits of their action—their gold medals—they would still retain the natural advancement of their skill and relish the exhilarated feelings of fruitful accomplishment.
         So, Grasshopper, are not the various fruits more than you naturally supposed? Can one unselfishly benefit another without thereby naturally benefiting oneself? — If you know what I mean.

                                                                        The Wanderer


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