Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Law of Least Effort

--by Deepak Chopra (Jan 04, 2010)

If you observe nature at work, you will see that least effort is expended. Grass doesn't try to grow, it just grows. Fish don't try to swim, they just swim. Flowers don't try to bloom, they bloom. Birds don't try to fly, they fly. This is their intrinsic nature. The earth doesn't try to spin on its own axis; it is the nature of the earth to spin with dizzying speed and to hurtle through space. It is the nature of babies to be in bliss. It is the nature of the sun to shine. It is the nature of the stars to glitter and sparkle. And it is human nature to make our dreams manifest into physical form, easily and effortlessly.

In Vedic Science, the age-old philosophy of India, this principle is known as the principle of economy of effort, or "do less and accomplish more." Ultimately you come to the state where you do nothing and accomplish everything. This means that there is just a faint idea, and then the manifestation of the idea comes about effortlessly. What is commonly called a "miracle" is actually an expression of the Law of Least Effort.

Nature's intelligence functions effortlessly, frictionlessly, spontaneously. It is non-linear; it is intuitive, holistic, and nourishing. And when you are in harmony with nature, when you are established in the knowledge of your true Self, you can make use of the Law of Least Effort.

Least effort is expended when your actions are motivated by love, because nature is held together by the energy of love. When you seek power and control over other people, you waste energy. When you seek money or power for the sake of the ego, you spend energy chasing the illusion of happiness instead of enjoying happiness in the moment. When you seek money for personal gain only, you cut off the flow of energy to yourself, and interfere with the expression of nature's intelligence. But when your actions are motivated by love, there is no waste of energy. When your actions are motivated by love, your energy multiplies and accumulates.

--Deepak Chopra, Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

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Previous Reflections:

On Jan 6, 2010 Reef wrote:

Nothing is ever what it seems

On Jan 7, 2010 Sunny Arora wrote:

Someone said, "Life is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration" but mulling over the passage it struck me with love and peace in our lives "life become 99% inspiration and 1 % perspiration".

On Jan 8, 2010 Iyegbu Leo wrote:

Go ahead and love like you can't be heartbroken,therein lies the surest path to sucess/Abundant life.

On Jan 8, 2010 Somik Raha wrote:

When I hear the word "nature," conditioning makes me think of trees and forests. Deeper reflection reminds me that nature could also be my nature. Infact, from the same vedic sources that Deepak Chopra cites comes an exhortation to find that knowledge, knowing which, all becomes known. Pondering over this aphorism, I felt that it is my own nature that if known, reveals all nature to me, for then, the distinction of "my" or "I" is no longer present. When I am established in my nature, there is nowhere to go, nothing to do, just peace and harmony with all that is. Once established, the hardest problems look puny and all action from this space becomes the right action. The problem is, getting to this space can be very hard. Smita's mother pointed out that we get into this space only when we have given up trying. I could resonate with that as some of the decisions I've taken came from insights that leaped up when I completely gave up. I stopped trying to be something else, and accidentally got into the space of connecting with my own nature, where there are no dilemmas, for there is no mind.


Again, as Smita's mother pointed out, we may know this insight several times, but we also know that we're going to lose it and will have to work to regain it again. This was her last visit to a Wednesday in this visit and we are going to miss her smile, wisdom and presence. (She cooked a few Wednesdays back for everyone, so she is now our CFMom from Minnesota!) She plans to hang out in Karma Kitchen DC and Wednesdays in DC.


The idea of love in this passage is profound. To me, it is what takes all this discussion of awareness of nature from the intellectual to the real. Going deeper, what is the experience of love? The author is giving us a key to a very big mystery. We all experience love in so many ways. It is that moment when we cannot put any label to what we are feeling, but our whole body trembles, we feel expanded, and a tear-drop rolls down our cheek. We feel connected to someone and in that moment, we cannot distinguish ourselves from them (by the definition of connection, and by the experience of it). It is love then, that gives us access to our nature - for we have practically broken the limitations of our identity and connected to something bigger.


The funny part is, we are not aware that the experience of love connects us to a deeper awareness. However, we can see the power of it - for a moment of genuine love is indelibly printed in our minds. It is so deep that one is forever touched by it. When one makes a practice of love, it becomes a great tool for developing awareness as we can be engaged in it all the time. Suddenly, a meditation practice that I'd learned years back, made a lot of sense. In this practice, the meditator starts by giving love to all four directions, to everything that is around, and then enters into silence. If done right, it takes us straight in to the zone of awareness. In other practices, love is given at the end. One effect of that (for me) is to ensure that even if no awareness has developed during the meditation (which is very unlikely), the awareness sets in for sure at the end. Love is what explains the development of awareness through service. In other words, service without love is of no use to anybody. To get to the practical, I am amazed at how easy life looks when I surrender and develop love for those who are trying to help in my research. And, by the same token, how hard it seems when I get defensive. The other day, I chatted with a good friend on the phone and got all defensive when he started getting critical. We agreed to meet to discuss further. At the meeting, I decided to honor his love for me, and at every criticism, I kept sending love and gratitude. And surprisingly, everything he said make sense. And, he kept getting happier and happier with my research. We ended the meeting on a great high - he felt it was great work and that he had been able to help me (which he indeed had).


As we went around the group, Reepa shared her reflection on Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) who is also known as the hugging saint. When asked how she could do what she does, she replied with a question, "How does the river flow?" This metaphor struck a chord with many and was repeated by others as well. 


Viral shared a story, building on the idea of "knowing that by which you know all." It was the story of a sword master's challenge to a tea-master (Japan's tea ceremonies). The tea-master decided to take some lessons from another sword master. In the duel, the tea-master drew his sword out so perfectly that the challenger conceded defeat - for he could find no flaw in the action. When one is a master in one area, one finds the ability to master other areas too.


Hafeez shared an aphorism, "Love what you do. Do what you love." Pavi shared a dissenting view on nature - for it is true that nature also has examples of the cruel and the difficult. The March of the Penguins is a great testimony to the struggle of the penguins. Others shared how getting to the awareness of nature was the hard part - lot of struggle needed to get there.

After the sit, had a lovely chat with Dinesh uncle's brother, who was the entrepreneur behind the STD-ISD PCO (phone booths manned by people) that revolutionized the telecom landscape in the 90s. It was incredible to hear about the patience with which he had to convince the government of India that a payphone is not just a phone into which you can put in coins (as defined by law) but also any phone that you have to pay to use. He managed to get the government to recognize something a child can understand, and the rest is history. What I observed was a lack of bitterness at the government. I requested a write-up from him - hopefully we'll manage to get it and put it on the CF Blog.


Grateful for another lovely Wednesday.

On Jan 13, 2010 Pancho wrote:

My family calls me Pancho and I'd like you to know that I love you all...

As I'm getting ready for another inspiring Wednesday, a lot of feelings of gratitude and joy came to my mind/heart form what happened last Wednesday: an organic fresh local nourishing flow of harmony, the flow of the law of least effort, the flow of the Universal Love.

During the circle a few people brought the analogy of water. I could not resist but to follow the curse of the emerging collective intelligence (as a participant in the circle said: "this is my blisscipline ;-)).

1. The shape of the container
2. Emancipate the borders
3. The Grand Canyon of the Earth Community

1. The shape of the container

Liquid Water. The precious compound that makes life possible on this Planet. When we are born, 90% of the content of our beautiful bodies is water. On this World, with its gravity, liquid water "finds the way to flow", even when it is in a container. Why "flowing" when you are contained? Because when one takes the form of the container, one is ready to connect at a deep level with the walls of the container. You are in contact with the "inner part" of the container. In the same way, each one of us could "take the shape of the container" and connect with our brothers and sister at the SOULlular level, no matter where we are, or what are our superficial differences. When that happens, when we connect with each other at the understanding level, magic flows.


2. Emancipate the borders

Water knows no borders. There is no concept of country or any imaginary lines drawn in the dirt by humans. The rivers flow; the oceans tides are constantly caressing  the coasts; the clouds fly freely above our sacred land. If liquid water can bring such peace to our  minds, imagine how much peace the mind would have if the stream of the Universal Love, devotion and wisdom begins to flow through the valley of the mind...

When one find goodness and benevolence all around, the mind automatically will attain peace. We can find a stream that is flowing without break, that has no resting place, a "homeless" flow of love. Then, watching the flow of such a sacred stream concentrates the mind in a moment... then, this stream, only motivates us to create a spring of love and wisdom within ourselves.


3. The Grand Canyon of the Earth Community

And who cares what would be the results of "our flowing" on the surface of the Earth today? Every drop of water counts. Just look at the magnificent testimonial of the Grand Canyon and so many other master pieces that Mother Nature has carved with infinite patience, with infinite love, one moment at a time. In the same way, our small contributions of kindness, generosity and courage will create a The Grand Canyon of the Earth Community where no borders are need to share the abundance of this paradise on the Cosmos.

May all become compassionate, courageous and wise.

On Feb 2, 2010 namita wrote:

Our conscience and our heart teaches us to love.

When a child is born he is free from hatred and fear.

Our cherished goals are lost somewhere when we pursue whatever our environment demands from us and not our heart.

We all feel like not cutting trees, helping old ppl, and goin to places to help those we feel need help but what can we do??

Certain things are indispensible or made indispesible by the way we live and deal in our lives.

There is a dillema!!

How do we solve it???

On Feb 14, 2010 P. Sasidhar wrote:

It is a great peace to start with in the new year. Read the article with least effort!

What is intrinsic in plant or fish or man manifests itself with least effort. I cant wish to perform well in every subject with least effort. It is not intrinsic in me perhaps.

Recession cant be wished away. It dawned with least effort may be!. To eliminate it is a herculean task. No matter how much I love the nature...I cant find quick-fix solutions to Recession or H1N1. I thought Law of least effort applies to actions driven in the realm of intrinsic strengths one is endowed with by birth...passed on through genes!?

Quote: "......And it is human nature to make our dreams manifest into physical form, easily and effortlessly.": Unquote
This statement from the passage forms the crux. Does it? Correct me.


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