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To Do or Not to Do
Monty: Hi, Daniel.
My question is this… and I seem to be on the fence lately with this one… to do or not to do… to see IT everywhere is amazing, and wow… at times there is a feeling of why do?
Example: in a relationship I am experiencing… do I discuss issues and drama in the relationship or just be the Presence that is appearing? It can go both ways.
The beauty of seeing the Beloved… as all is sweet… yet there is still the process of doing something that occurs and can be helpful.
So, the question is, to do or not? Is the doing happening and we just let it happen?
Daniel: The “I” that you’re referring to is your limited identity (the doer/jiva), and the doer (jiva) will always be demanding to do/act. This is just the nature of jiva and requirement of the apparent reality (mithya) in which it finds itself. The real you, actioness awareness (satya), on the other hand is free from the doer (jiva) and doership altogether. What’s important is to understand the difference between these two views and not to confuse the play of doership (mithya) with satya.
The doing never stops for the doer (jiva). And why should it? This world (mithya) is nothing but a karmic soup of non-stop doership. Karma just refers to any action and its result. The jiva is just a micro bundle of karmas, an entity that’s required to respond to life every second whether it wants to or not. The doing only stops once the jiva’s done (aka six feet underground!).
But doing just for the sake of doing is stupid. Be selective with your energy. Ask yourself, “Am I being proactive in my action or just reactive?” As inquirers into liberation, doership is shaped by clear (sattvic) thinking and clear motivations with reference to one’s goal (i.e. peace of mind). Doership is also done with the objective to serve – to give back – to the Total. Service comes from appropriate action, and appropriate action comes from the application of the karma/dharma yoga attitude. Here is a link that further captures this topic.
Understanding Isvara (the macrocosmic field, or the gunas) will also add clarity to the topic of doership. In a nutshell, it’s the gunas that are responsible for doership, not the jiva. But this is a more subtle investigation and may require some investigational brain juice! Here is a link that further dives into this science.
Assuming your goal is moksa (liberation), I’ll end on this note: it’s not about doing or not doing, but rather understanding your freedom FROM the doer and doership altogether. In other words, even whilst the jiva is doing you know very well that this does not apply to you, actionless awareness. Understanding your true identity as awareness is called self-knowledge, and it’s this knowledge that allows effortless action to take place whilst not resulting in a sense of limitation.
So coming back to your example, a jiva with self-knowledge will totally enjoy the relationship experience and play the jiva role (offer appropriate actions) whilst not actually being identified with the limited doer (jiva) or its experience.
I’ve kept my response brief because it’s a complex question and would require the complete teaching to answer it. I suggest investing in James Swartz’s book The Essence of Enlightenment to get the full picture.