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Take Aim and Fire

Life is constantly moving. Is it possible to stand still?

It has been awhile since my last article. I have had a lack of desire to sling ink and life has been busy as it tends to be here in California. I took some big bites and it may be some time before I swallow. But it tastes good so I will sit here and savor. I am doing a considerable amount of teaching, I moved and I am in the midst of planning a trip to India; all good things but even the good can be unsettling. In the moments when the ground is seemingly unsteady I make it a point not to fight. I don’t run uphill or swim against the current which I see many people do. I tip my hat to the universe and then sit down with her. I let her reveal to me her hand and then make my move. I am not a gambler but I can see some real value in the game of poker. You need to be elastic.

Truth be known that life requires a healthy level of adaptability. Everyday we are different – clinging, holding and grasping for something unmoving will only leave us feeling like we are drowning. Instead when we get calm and surrender we are able to be buoyant – like a buoy that floats upon the ocean’s surface. The future is futile and nothing we can do now will change it. The it is not real. That is not to say that what we do now has no relevance or impact into the future. Quite the contrary. When we live our life now, in the present, it most greatly impacts the future. But the impact is different because we are coming from a place rooted in a current experience. We are looking at the cards in our hand. We are not reacting out of fear of loss or gain. We are responding to what we need today. The Dalai Lama XIV said it best

“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

In the epic tale of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna speaks to Arjuna on the importance of taking right action – of listening and following. Arjuna is an expert archer who was known for his precision and focus. In an earlier story, Arjuna actually pierced the eye of a bird from yards away with an arrow; not seeing anything but the white of the bird’s eye. In the epic battle of good versus evil Arjuna fears the thought of destroying his friends and family on the other side of the battle field. He is brought down to his knees in doubt – not because he is afraid of losing the fight but because of his anxiety about what the future will hold if he kills his kin. Krishna tells Arjuna that his duty is to fight and nothing more. It is not to win or lose. It is simply to act because that is his role and to do so with no predetermination. Arjuna has but one choice, to take aim and fire. This is such an important metaphor for life.

We cannot always determine the outcome of our actions but we do know that we have to act. What we do today has an impact on the future but we must not attach. The key is that we listen and follow in each experience as it unfolds. We allow our actions to come from the heart and let go of all doubt. Our decisions remain inviolate only when we trust ourselves and look at the cards we are dealt honestly.

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