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Right Action Plus Right Attitude
Jason: Ramji, so after realizing there was nothing to get, Isvara offers me the doctoring job that I had been coveting. Not a real doctor, but a kind of spiritual janitor.
It seems there is endless opportunity to lose discrimination in this regard, meaning the loss of awareness that I am not the doer. So it seems like the only thing left is to allow this flow to happen, be present and available for those that sincerely seek help, even though they may not be seeking truth at all.
If they are, great. If not, that’s cool too. We can still help them. But never are we directed to “want” to help anyone. I enjoy my time to myself. I meditate more. I study Vedanta. I exercise. But the way calls, and off I go. Is this do-gooding? I think it can be if my intention were to gain goodness for ME.
But how can you gain something that you already have? Certainly the world of spiritual healing is a Mecca to do-gooders who have zero knowledge of their true nature. But does that automatically disqualify it as a dharmic path? I’m not so sure. If that is the case, then isn’t being a husband and a father in the same category? I could easily abandon those responsibilities and enjoy life, but that would do harm. Granted, there is always someone to step up, and the same would be true for the family.
But I’m just relaxing into the life Isvara gave me, not really struggling anymore to “become” anything. For sure, these responsibilities come with duties that restrict my time. Is inquiry and sadhana paramount? Even above the svadarma Isvara gives us??? As you said before, we can say no to Isvara. But to what end?
James: Helping is helping. It doesn’t matter if the people you help are going for moksa. It is good to help. It is one of the five “sacrifices” incumbent on a karma yogi. Service to others is not a duty that you can avoid. The point, however, is to leave the result to Isvara. If something good comes out of it, fine. If something bad comes out of it, fine. If nothing comes of it, fine. You just respond appropriately to sincere calls for help and don’t think about whether or not the helper, Jason, or the helped are benefiting. Karma yoga is inquiry.
Inquiry is the application of the teaching to your everyday life. In the case of karma yoga it is the application of the knowledge that, as far as action goes, Jason is not in charge of the result, and that surrendering the results of any and all actions is an act of worship which is purifying and uplifting.
We are suspicious of do-gooders because they often do it with mixed motives: (1) to help others (which is fine) and (2) to make themselves feel virtuous, which isn’t fine, because you can’t buy virtue by actions. You are the self, the virtue that makes virtue virtuous. So if any healing is going on Isvara is doing it. Jason is just an instrument of Isvara’s will. It really doesn’t matter what you do as long as it conforms to dharma. Action is all about attitude. Karma yoga is right action plus right attitude.
So go for it – or not. You’re on the Vedanta bus and you can’t fall off.
~ Love, James