Welcome to part 2 of Bhagavad-gita and the Journeypreneur. In this post, we parse out, and comment on, the larger passage we excerpted in our last post.
If you want to read the full uninterrupted excerpt before proceeding with the commentary below, be sure to check out part 1.
bhagavad-gita and the journeypreneur
You have the right to work, but for the work’s sake only. You have no rights to the fruits of work. Desire for the fruits of work must never be your motive in working.
A similar truth to the one being espoused above can also be found at the heart of the Journeypreneur. Rather than work in an occupation to afford the spoils of life, why not work directly with the spoils.
Why insert a middleman – the “successful occupation” – between yourself and your duty, your calling, your nature?
An example, you say?
How about eating stress for breakfast, lunch, and dinner six days per week in order to buy weekend trips, vacations, and get aways in order to, well…get away from it all?
Instead, why not just get away from it, like, indefinitely?
Crazy, right? But read on.
Interestingly, since taking our multi-year sabbatical, we’ve reinvented how we occupy our time. We refer to our speed as slow. And we love it.
Love living, working, and resting at our own pace, not dictated by someone else’s duty-for-us.
the promise of the jouneypreneur
Work done with anxiety about results is far inferior to work done without such anxiety, in the calm of self-surrender. Seek refuge in the knowledge of God. They who work selfishly for results are miserable.
To do what excites you is the promise of the Journeypreneur. Let us not toil away at someone else’s work, work which may foster anxiety in us. Better that our occupation – that which occupies us; our busy-ness – be rooted in a deliberate yielding to our calling.
When we try and out-earn the problem, we place a middle-man, that of “a good job,” in between ourselves and how we experience our life’s calling, or not.
And if not, then we may end up miserable.
From the calm of self-surrender you can free yourself from the bondage of virtue and vice during this very life. Devote yourself, therefore, to reaching union with God. To unite the heart with God and then to act: that is the secret of non-attached work. In the calm of self-surrender, the seers renounce the fruits of their actions and so reach enlightenment. Then they are free from the bondage of rebirth, and pass to that state which is beyond all evil.
The passages above sound like heavy spiritual truths, and yet I can’t help but recognize the promise of the Journeypreneur reflected in the passage.
- non-attached work = my calling, or being busy about my own business and journey
- to unite the heart with god and then act = to stop trading our own heart’s journey in exchange for the illusions of safety, security, and stability
- free from the bondage of rebirth – I’m sure there’s a metaphor here for being stuck in the rat race trading hours for dollars
union of the soul
When your intellect has cleared itself of all delusions, you will become indifferent to the results of all action, present or future. At present, your intellect is bewildered by conflicting interpretations of [messages about values]. When it can rest, steady and undistracted, in contemplation of the Soul, then you will reach union with the Soul.
For me, the union of the Soul was only realized after I quit occupying all of my time and energy managing someone else’s duty-for-me.
Only after living and walking, sleeping and waking, in the wilderness for several months, was my intellect able to clear itself of a fair amount of delusion.
This clarity, heretofore squelched by trading hours for dollars was truly THE biggest benefit of embarking on a slow journey.
As a working stiff, I was, in fact,
…bewildered by [conflicting interpretations of messages about values.]
Messages about work and family, about duty, safety, security, and stability. About Duty (capital D) and calling. About biological clocks and regret.
something akin to an experiment
When a man has found delight and satisfaction and peace in the Soul, then he is no longer obliged to perform any kind of action. He has nothing to gain in this world by action, and nothing to lose by refraining from action. He is independent of everybody and everything.
The arc of the Journeypreneur, as I experienced it, and as I hope others will experience it, can be thought of like an experiment.
The hypothesis is, you can buy a prolonged amount of time outside of the rat race – i.e., NOT trading hours for dollars in a busy-ness you’re not spiritually aligned with – and can thereby experience a state of consciousness similar to what’s being described in the verses above as peace of the Soul.
Satisfied, delighted, peaceful, un-obliged, with nothing to lose, independent, free.
This might traditionally be viewed as cart-before-horse, but that’s the crazy thing about spiritual truths, and about destiny. They often reveal themselves to fly in the face of traditional wisdom.
The point being, that putting yourself into a position to experience this state of consciousness for a prolonged time allows you to reinvent your relationship to all of the above. Life, values, family, security, peace, consciousness, busy-ness.
reinventing our relationship to work
The hypothesis says that may have done what we’ve done for so long that we not only feel trapped, we are actually, that is, consciously trapped.
Its hard to reinvent our relationship to earning – to value creation – by making small adjustments from within our current situation.
The promise of Journeypreneur is for those who seek to reinvent their relationship to work, to value creation.
They know they can use their skills and talent to create and add value to the lives of those they’d serve, and thereby to their own.
the job (even a good one) as a distraction and a trap
A truth dawned on me after several months wandering in the wilderness.
The truth was simply, that we’re here to contemplate and to think. To experience a journey.
To learn and to love.
Yet, many of us feel no such opportunity – no such space, or permission, or allowance – because we’re too busy hustling for a buck.
And if you discover you don’t value the buck as much as you did prior (at least relative to your time and your quality of life), you can still feel stuck.
In this manner, Journeypreneur goes against the grain. To embark on your heart’s journey is a spiritual experience and a revolutionary act all rolled into one.
It is an example that others can follow, for the good of us all.
safety, security, and stuff
Do your duty, always; but without attachment. That is how a man reaches the ultimate Truth; by working without anxiety about results. In fact, many saints reached enlightenment simply because they did their duty in this spirit. Your motive in working should be to set others, by your example, on the path of duty. Whatever a great man does, ordinary people will imitate; they follow his example.
Here again, we give up our attachment to the safety, security, and stuff that our hard-earned money can buy for us.
And here’s the magic:
Whatever a great man does, ordinary people will imitate; they follow his example.
The beauty of Journeypreneur is, you’re leading by example. The question of ‘positioning’ or ‘niche’ becomes not-a-question-at-all.
By virtue of following your heart’s journey, you become a creator in a world of consumers. By moving forward along the path to your calling, you give permission to others to do the same.
work as holy
The ignorant work
For the fruit of their action:
The wise must work also
Pointing man’s feet
To the path of his duty.
Let the wise beware
Lest they bewilder
The minds of the ignorant
Hungry for action:
Let them show by example
How work is holy
When the heart of the worker
Is fixed on the Highest.
Yes! Couldn’t have said it better myself!
dang nature, you sticky
Every action is really performed by the [qualities of nature]. Man, deluded by his egoism, thinks: “I am the doer.” But he who has the true insight into the operations of the [qualities of nature] and their various functions knows that when senses attach themselves to objects, [qualities of nature] are simply attaching themselves to [qualities of nature]. Knowing this, he does not become attached to his actions.
(BTW, the sanskrit word for [qualities of nature] is guna – plural gunas – in case you want to look it up! )
Deep spiritual constructs about the nature of reality aside, the quote above means to me, simply, that there is an ‘automatic’ quality to life. An inherent forward motion.
There are forces at work which are objective, even though their true spiritual nature is subjective. Forces like electricity and magnetism, and more subtle ones, too. Forces of consciousness.
It is this ‘automatic-ness,’ this inherent-flowing-forward which reacts (effect) to the actions (cause) we take. Think success-principles and self-help.
There are certain actions which won’t be denied by the universe, by nature, or by humanity. As we grow and develop in this way, we broaden ourselves and our journey.
Yet, it is this ‘automatic-ness,’ this inherent-flowing-forward which stabilizes our current (and every) situation. An inherent gravity which keeps us stuck, if that’s how we view it (I certainly did).
Journeypreneur puts us in a position to benefit from these forces. To utilize them for our own busy-ness, possibly for the first time, rather than someone-else’s.
The illumined soul must not create confusion in the minds of the ignorant by refraining from work. The ignorant, in their delusion, identify the Soul with the [qualities of nature]. They become tied to the senses and the action of the senses.
“Not working” was actually a big part of our plan. Probably the biggest part. But here’s the thing. We were actually working like crazy the entire time.
Planning, negotiating, executing. Traveling, communicating, facilitating. Learning, living, laughing. All a full-time occupation, to be sure.
So, that’s how the passage above lands for me. Journeypreneur is very much about the experience of stopping the work you no longer enjoy doing. Of taking time off, slowing down, resting, recuperating, refocusing (a natural byproduct), and of letting go. And ultimately, of moving toward the activities of life which excite you.
And all of this good stuff looks, in many ways, like refraining from work. But the truth is, we were simply working differently.
Set aside the fact that we were making photos and videos daily, and within 12 months had a rudimentary blog set up.
Those are, in fact, bonafide forms of work. Like, real, monetizable work. Slower on the uptick, probably, than most. But faster than some, for sure.
But the real work was in the travel, the logistics of keeping our family safe and secure (maybe a new experience of “safety” and “security” for some), the broadening of our consciousnesses and the improvement of our health while journeying across the continent.
All of this busy-ness lays groundwork for the road to our ultimate Calling. Slowing down (for the first time) was a huge part of it, mentally and emotionally.
So much mental noise goes on inside the head of a decades-employed corporate soldier. In this sense, refraining from work was actually part of the larger body of work.
Or possibly better said, it cleared space needed for the real work to begin.
Don’t be confused. Quitting your job to do “nothing” for a year sounds reckless and irresponsible. Sounds like it contradicts the wisdom of ancient Hindu saints by refraining from work.
Yet, upon closer observation, or at least in our experience, it was one of the most enlightening and value-creating journeys we could embark upon.
Are you ready to join us?
Shake off this fever of ignorance. Stop hoping for worldly rewards. Fix your mind on the Soul. Be free from the sense of ego. Dedicate all your actions to the Highest. Then go forward and fight.
It is better to do your own duty, however imperfectly, than to assume the duties of another person, however successfully. Prefer to die doing your own duty: the duty of another will bring you into great spiritual danger.
Simply, wow. This is the crux of it, isn’t it?
Better to do you, however imperfectly, than to smash your vessel on the rocks of adversity trying to be (or, do for) someone else.
Craziest part about it is, even now as I read the words spiritual danger, I find myself thinking, “well, that’s a little hyperbolic. However, it should be noted that I’m currently in a period of “normal” living.
By that, I mean, we’ve lived in a home in Slovakia for a year. My kids are in Slovak school. I work a little teaching English. All part of our Journeypreneurial arc, or course, but it feels like normal life.
My experience has been that while living a work-a-day form of life, we don’t sense the spiritual danger (kooky, right?) of trading our destiny for security.
toward or away from light
And yet, when I lived and walked, slept and woke, in the wilderness for 6 months, a profound truth dawned upon me about light and dark. That in this life, we’re moving toward light or away from it.
Sure we can cruise sideways for a long time, too. But “sideways” is a misnomer. Like an airplane’s autopilot mechanism, there is no straight line, sideways or otherwise.
There are only incremental, if imperceptible, adjustments and re-adjustments in response to where we’re currently situated relative to our course (Strategy).
I can even remember where I was when this truth about life and spiritual evolution dawned on me.
It happened quite naturally – no surprise – in the wilderness, and as a byproduct of not having to spend my days tending another man’s busyness. #spaceToThank
Again, we ask…Who’s ready to join us?
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