Action Without Desire Of Outcomes

Vinoba Bhave

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Awakin FeatureTo protect self-interest individuals exploit others, nations go to war, and businesses undercut each other, because people in those situations see a conflict between self-interest and the interest of others. But in reality there is no such conflict.  Everyone's interests are intertwined. Peace, prosperity and happiness are in the interest of all.  These are the universal gains, which are accomplished when personal gains are forgotten. When personal gains are pursued, universal gains are lost. If universal gains are lost where are the personal gains? 

When performed with love, action becomes its own reward. When action is performed without ulterior motives, when it is spontaneous, joyful and pure, our attention is present in the here and the now. There is no cunning, there is no calculation, there is no speculation, there is no planning, there is no past, there is no future, there is no worry, there is no burden. Our action flows without stress, without strain or pressure.

For example, if one cooks for the joy of cooking, and with full attention and presence of mind, then good cooking will be a natural outcome. Garden for the joy of gardening, without impatience and without anxiety, then fruit, flowers and vegetables will flow from the garden of their own accord. Those who are devoted to cooking or gardening will not feel satisfied if we say to them that they need not cook or garden, we will provide ready-made meals and pre-packed vegetables. A true cook or gardener will not feel happy, because in that way they have been deprived of their creativity and joyful work. 

A gardener, while gardening with love, identifies with the vegetable kingdom. Through gardening he or she attains oneness with the whole universe. That way gardening becomes a noble act, a spiritual act, a prayer and a play -- all life is a play; a divine drama. A child plays for the joy of playing; we act for the joy of acting. We should perform our actions as naturally as a bird sings. We need not expect recognition for acting according to our own nature. Gardening comes to a gardener as naturally as eating, drinking or sleeping. There is nothing special about it. There is no vanity in it.

["If there is nothing to achieve," I asked, "no goal, no out-come, then why would one act at all?"]

We cannot give up action. Action is in front of us and behind us. Even sitting still is action, and if we sit still for too long we will find even that uncomfortable. So we need not try to give up action. All we can give up is the desire for an outcome. 

Through work we express ourselves. Work manifests our imagination. Work is love made visible. Through work we establish relationships with people and material things. Thus work in itself is beautiful. It is the desire to impress others, desire for recognition, for fame and fortune, which makes work ugly. There is no need to desire any gains. All gains are by-products. The main product of work is work itself.

Vinoba Bhave in conversation with Satish Kumar, as chronicled in the book, "You Are, Therefore I Am."

Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to the notion that work itself is beautiful but the desire to impress others is what makes it ugly? Can you share a personal experience of a time you felt that work was love made visible? What helps you avoid attachment to outcomes without giving up work?

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8 Previous Reflections:

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    On Jun 28, 2018 jasonmorgan wrote:

     AWESOME


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    On Jun 26, 2018 Deepak wrote:

     Expectations from our actions in all areas of our lives always results in failure . One performs the action required and moves on .


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    On Jun 26, 2018 Suzanne Frazier wrote:

     As an artist, when I create oil paintings, I am working from love. My work is love manifest. As for impressing others, I am older woman artist so that is not a problem. People aren't impressed by our life's work, many times, because an older woman created it. That's ok with me because creating the art is the important part of my life.


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    On Jun 26, 2018 Bill Miller wrote:

    Thanks so much for posting this reminder! Timely for me -- it’s so easy to focus on various projects and causes, then become frustrated when progress or a hoped for outcome seems a long way off. Yet it is helpful to think that, ideally, we all come into life with a unique mission. So long as we are carrying out our mission and applying our particular talents, life can feel meaningful and fulfilling, whatever the external circumstances. The task is to work with one’s abilities and circumstances the best one can - not to control the outcome.

     
     

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    On Jun 26, 2018 Sagar wrote:

     In BhagwadGeeta Lord Krishna says "Na Me Karma Fale Spruha" -- i.e, may fruit of thy action be not thy motive.  Vinobaji was a gret follower of this and he is right in saying that moment you focus on the outcome, you do not give 100% of your attention, energy to whatever you are doing.  This is a distraction from action.   Work is worship can be exmplified automatically when results are truly wonderful.


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    On Jun 25, 2018 david doane wrote:

     The desire to impress others is a problem and can be ugly because it's a desire to do something that I don't have the power to do.  I can't make anyone be impressed or unimpressed.  I can't make anyone do or feel anything.  I can perform right action, which is my responsibility.  Right action is constructive expression of my experience in the moment.  Right action does not involve trying to control outcome.  Right action is love.  Work is action, and work that is the right action is love made visible.  When I trust my truth and put it into right action without being goal directed and without trying to control outcome, I am trusting the process and I am loving and my love is made visible.  I can give up trying to control outcome without giving up right action, and knowing that helps me avoid attachment to outcome without giving up work. 


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    On Jun 22, 2018 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
     When anything we do is done with love, it is always joyful.The action itself is the reward. Work and love are interwoven. The work could be sweeping the floor, picking up the garbage, cooking, nursing someone who is sick and invalid, teaching or gardening. When it is done with our heart, lovingly, it is joyful and beautiful. When we work for the extrinsic reward, there is dissatisfaction, disappointment and bickering.The joy of work or the beauty of work is lost. My mom loved to cook Her face was beeming with joy. Every action connected with cooking brought a lot of joy to her and to others surrounding her They were also affected by her joy. Her joy was contageous.The same was the case with my wife. This has been my experience with many of my friends who have been very happy for cooking for me and serving meals to me. I love and enjoy learning and teaching.I  am learning because I love  to learn. I am teaching because I love to teach not for recognition or gaining fame... [View Full Comment]

     When anything we do is done with love, it is always joyful.The action itself is the reward. Work and love are interwoven. The work could be sweeping the floor, picking up the garbage, cooking, nursing someone who is sick and invalid, teaching or gardening. When it is done with our heart, lovingly, it is joyful and beautiful. When we work for the extrinsic reward, there is dissatisfaction, disappointment and bickering.The joy of work or the beauty of work is lost.
    My mom loved to cook Her face was beeming with joy. Every action connected with cooking brought a lot of joy to her and to others surrounding her They were also affected by her joy. Her joy was contageous.The same was the case with my wife. This has been my experience with many of my friends who have been very happy for cooking for me and serving meals to me.
    I love and enjoy learning and teaching.I  am learning because I love  to learn. I am teaching because I love to teach not for recognition or gaining fame. I have nevr been disappointed following my bliss.Sadly, some of my friends working without passion and joy of working. I see them unahppy though they are making good money.
    When reward of my work is intrinsic, I do not feel attached to outcomes.Then there is no expectation of  the recognition and admiration coming from outside. Good work done joyfully with love is usually reconized and appreciated. But that won't make any difference in pursuing work done with love and joy.The joy is in cooking the cake.The admiration, reward, is like frosting on the cake!
    May we follow our bliss that brings joy to us and to others associated with us!

    Namaste.
    Jagdish P Dave


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