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Tears of Relief
Charlie: Dear Ramji, the teachings these past days have had a powerful effect, and I wanted to share something that happened this morning while out walking along the sea.
You said the first day how spiritual seekers skip karma yoga and love to focus on the knowledge teachings, and although I’ve heard the teachings on karma yoga many times, I knew exactly what you meant. This morning I was reflecting on Krishna’s comment that a little karma yoga removes great fear. Since I don’t experience much fear, I never bothered to inquire into that statement; however, once I “translated” it to mean anxiety, it became very relevant. As I reflected on that, in light of what you had said about the need to practice karma yoga to resolve emotions if the knowledge is going to stick, some things suddenly made sense. As I “unwound” the experience of anxiety, applying what you said about karma yoga, it suddenly became crystal-clear that it was the result of a lack of trust in God due to a strong drive to be a perfect doer (no matter what was being done), and that the drive to be a perfectionist was the result of the unconscious conviction that there was something wrong with me. Nothing new here, but the link between this one idea that something was wrong with me and the resulting anxiety had never been so obvious. The jiva Charlie has been compensating for the conviction that there was something wrong by proving he could do things perfectly. Because of this, combined with the strong belief/vasana that doing one’s duty and being responsible was virtuous (exactly as you said in the teachings yesterday), I’ve suffered. Well, I haven’t suffered, but you know what I mean. Certainly the pure satisfaction of knowing I’m awareness has been elusive.
As you pointed out in different ways over the past four days, we have to look carefully at our minds if this knowledge is going to bear fruit, and it’s become clear that I’m just at the beginning. I have no idea what karma yoga really means, but the revelation this morning gives me a clue what Krishna meant. When those seemingly disparate factors came into “focus,” something let go and tears of relief started flowing – what a blessing these teaching are! What a blessing to be in the company of a mahatma. “Thank you” doesn’t do justice to my gratitude.
James: Karma yoga just means that you understand that anxiety is not the result of an innate imperfection of the Self, just a misunderstanding of the nature of the field of existence. You did not make yourself imperfect. It is impossible, because the Self is perfect in every way. So what did you do? You picked up the idea that you were imperfect. But you can’t blame yourself for that either, because you picked it up unconsciously. If you had been conscious when you heard that there was something wrong with you, you would not have accepted it, because it is not true. Karma yoga absolves you of your “sins.” When they are resolved, you are a mature person qualified for liberation.