I keep talking here about letting go, relinquishing attachment. You might get the impression that I am advocating the life of a hermit or an ascetic. Not at all, not at all. In fact today let’s talk about engagement, true action, the kind of action that happens without grasping, without attachment to outcomes. Perhaps there is a good word in English for this. Since I have not found it, I have invented one – deteng, or short for detached engagement.
What we seek to relinquish is not action, but the grasping at hopes or the shrinking from fears about outcomes of our actions. These things, in fact, obstruct pure action in life and destroy the beauty and benefit of true living experience.
Take the moment I am in at present. I have committed, right now, to write this week’s blog entry. It is very tempting to worry about what the little readership graph on my blog administration site will look like tomorrow. Will there have been more viewers than last week? Any comments? What will you think of me after you have read this, if you have read this – if anything at all? This represents the attachment of desire.
And sometime soon I really should build up the email list to expand distribution of the blog. I could be distracted by that thought, which feels like work, a chore. I don’t want to be bothered, which is the attachment of aversion to action.
In either case, desire or aversion, I am distracted by my attachment to outcomes. I want to have, or to avoid, a certain result, and that becomes my obsession. And In either case, I compromise the fullness of current action, which is to sit in the recliner with my laptop, writing exactly what I am able to write, without concern that it will not be complete or enough, in the time that I have at present. Deteng. I am doing what is before me. I am relaxed in spirit. I am fully and completely doing what I am doing. I am at peace. Deteng.
I believe that the best result of my action, my writing in this case, always happens when I have “given up” on outcomes and have gifted and immersed myself and you, to the extent that I am able, in Spirit, before, during and after the process.
How do I do that? Very simply. Call it prayer, call it meditation, call it relinquishment. I engage in the act of bringing you to mind in the all-encompassing presence of Spirit before I write, and I pray the prayer I pray throughout every day – “Thy (Spirit’s) will be done.” I breathe Spirit into me – Thy will – Spirit’s will. I release Spirit to you – be done. This is for you. It is through me. It is of Spirit. It is interactive. It is one. It is just us together, at one, in the breath of Creator/Spirit/Mind/Source.
The more I am mindful of that before I write, the more fully I am engaged and at ease in the act of writing. And the more open and engaged you are with Spirit as you read, the more complete, blessed and useful the outcome is for all.
The same is true for us in every action. Life in Spirit is not about inaction. It is about moving in Spirit. I encourage you, if the language or some form of it works for you, to practice this before every action, before every interaction; to ground yourself in Creator/Spirit/Mind/Source by bringing the action and its intended recipient to mind. Hold them in heart and mind. Breathe in, “Thy will.” Breathe out, “be done.” Bless them, experience being blessed together.
And then act, in complete trust, with full engagement in your action – so much engagement that there is no room for worry about results or outcome. Trust that you are in Spirit, in the flow and beauty and power of the universe. So is your action. And if they choose to be, so is your recipient. Nothing could be better. Nothing carries more health, peace power or goodness. Nothing could possibly require less worry. Nothing will ever find us more at home under the Tree of life.
Deteng, baby. Deteng. Will will be done.
Scripture today is from the Fifth Teaching, Renunciation of Action, of The Bhagavad-Gita:
A person who relinquishes attachment
and dedicates actions to the infinite spirit
is not stained by evil,
like a lotus leaf unstained by water.
people of discipline perform action
with body, mind, understanding, and senses
for the purification of the self.
Relinquishing the fruit of action,
the disciplined person attains perfect peace;
the undisciplined person is in bondage,
attached to the fruit of their desire.
© Two Trees in the Garden. Feel free to use, referencing the source, if you find it helpful.