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Karma Yoga Is the Key
Mike: Dear Ram, Vedanta makes one independent or gives you the choice to be non-dependent. The karma yoga model – acceptance of what is – cuts out all the bullshit, all the life drama. Having said this, I live/operate/work/socialise, etc. in a society which is very much on autopilot. 99.9999999% of speech is small talk… moans, groans and drama… and it is energy-draining at times. At times I observe the frustration and smile it off, but at other times the ego dominates and there is frustrated Mike, enlightenment-sickness Mike, funny Mike, sympathetic Mike.
The times when I do choose to be in a social environment and have to deal with small talk, what is the best way to react?
Ram: If you choose to be there, then make small talk. If you don’t like making small talk, why go there?
Mike: Knowing and understanding the field of action allows for no complaints.
It is simply THE ANSWER to everything. Following the rules of karma whilst being observant of the actions I have chosen has given amazing, rewarding results. Observing while enquiring allows for pre-analysis of actions, thus creating an opportunity for favourable/influential results.
Ram: Very good, Mike. Karma yoga is the key.
Mike: Is it correct to say that a person with a clear intellect and understanding of the field but who happens to have an evil character would be able to achieve evil results by analysing and calculating his actions? If so, I assume, if that be the case, a lesson in karma will be the result?
Ram: If the person’s values were wrong, his or her actions would produce “evil” results. If the person’s bad vasanas are very strong, such people usually don’t learn from bad results. That kind of person is not here to learn anything, so they just keep doing evil. They are not happy people or they would not feel the need to violate dharma.
Mike: My life situation flows wonderfully if I follow the karma yoga model and inquire into each action. It makes the actions honest, fair to life and clear to me. After the last talk you gave, it clicked. Both the self and the field of existence are clear. I have no excuses.
There are times when I do not do the “right action” despite being aware of it at the time! If this is the case, I get clear warnings. Because I am not ignorant, would the consequences of my actions be less lenient and tolerated as opposed of those of a person who is innocently ignorant?
Ram: No. The result depends on the nature of the action and the state of the field of action, not on the state of mind of the actor. Karma is not conscious. However, a more self-aware person may be able to take the results of bad actions gracefully.
Mike: At times the ego feels a sense of pressure because it tries to keep up with “the realisation” and feels bad when it gets caught up in itself. I am not sure if this makes much sense. But I brush off these feelings when I enquire into them.
Ram: Tell the ego to just do its karma yoga and not worry about the results.
Mike: I think the ego feels the need to be consistently clear, with the knowledge working all the time, and it feels bad when it is not the case. After you left, I was clear and on a high. Perhaps now I have come down?
Ram: If you develop more sattva you will be more consistently clear. But don’t worry about it. Take the come-down with the karma yoga attitude.
Mike: Today the knowledge of who I am remains firm. However, the environment I am operating in makes it challenging at times.
I have come off the anti-anxiety medication. As a result the body and mind have been stressed at times. The happy endorphins have been lowered and I am feeling a little grim at times.
Ram: It is better to be drug-free and feel a bit grim than to depend on chemicals to make yourself feel good. Inquire into the grimness. You will find some kind of unreasonable expectation is causing it. Take the grimness in the karma yoga spirit.
Mike: In spite of feeling down at times, I get a sense of calmness when I observe and enquire. It’s strange, but I feel happy and sad at the same time. The happiness comes from the self-knowledge.
Ram: Yes. Every feeling and thought is within you. As the self you can see apparently contradictory feelings coming up. Yes, the happiness comes from the self, from the knowledge of who you are. The sadness is just a vasana left over from when you did not know who you are. Such vasanas will come up occasionally, but will burn up in the light of awareness.
Mike: I read a book called The Higher Taste, based on the Vedic teachings. After reading it, I made the choice to follow/practice what was said. In addition, I said a prayer asking the self to remind me to bless/offer each meal that I prepare to Krishna. That reminder has popped up every time! Where does it come from?
Ram: From the self. It is an invocation of the self. The self responds.
Mike: However, it feels as if it can become a bit of an obsession, e.g. in the event I don’t bless the meal or eat whilst preparing it (which is said to be not good karma). Mike feels bad/guilty. I see egoic games coming into play… pacts and deals. Is this the ego trying to play tricks or what?
Ram: Yes. Perhaps your ego is a bit obsessive. It’s okay. Just observe it, as you are doing.
Mike: Smoking marijuana is the one action I take despite getting some form of warning at times. Is it possible that it’s because I am potentially able to be very much in “observer mode” but when I smoke at times I tend to get soaked up in the ego/thoughts, thus not contributing to what my commitment to self-enquiry which requires a CLEAR mind? Should Mike feel bad?
Ram: No, unless it is a serious vasana. You need a little relief from time to time. Get high, have a good time and then go back to self-inquiry. If you depend on dope to feel good, however, you should cut back on this habit until you are in control of the vasana. If you do feel bad, it is probably a sign that you are going against what you know is right. So in this case the bad feeling should be taken as a gift because it makes you aware of something that is not right for you.
~ Love, Ram