Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Act of Acceptance

The Act of Acceptance

Plant a seed. Fertilize the soil. Water it. Ensure that it gets good sunshine. Nurse it daily. That is all one could do. Nature does the rest.

The garderner cannot determine how many branches, leaves or flowers the seedling that he is nursing will sprout. But through his care and constancy of purpose, the plant realizes its full potential, whatever it might be.

The garderner does not micro-manage. He does not "hurry" his plants. Instead he lets them find their own rhythm of growth. He merely protects, nurtures and nourishes. He works hand in hand with nature.

Most tasks in life should be tackled that way. Constancy of purpose. Diligence. An awareness of one's direction and surroundings. Of doing one thing at a time and putting one's full concentration in it. That's all that one could do. Providence does the rest.

Yes, a garderner might envision a wonderful garden in his mind; one lush with shady trees and blooming flowers, bursting with colours under the sun. But he cannot construct a garden like how one would build a house or a bridge. A gardener has to work with nature. He is not an engineer, but an artist, whose medium is nature.

He uses both logic and intuition, honed by years of intimacy with nature. He respects its moods and idiosyncracies; he works in complete harmony with it, with his heart and his mind.

It is good to have ambitions in life, to pursue worldly success and to go after all the opportunities that life has to offer. But one cannot engineer every tiny detail of one's quest. Go ahead and dream of that magnificent garden of material riches, but also allow room for nature's creativity to do its work.

Having goals and ambitions does not mean one has to be aggressive, greedy and manipulative. The vision has to be there to guide one's energy, to give one focus. Within the direction that one has set forth, one can then work around obstacles creatively, with an economy of means, harnessing the natural forces that are present.

During the course of one's life, one will certainly meet people whose actions you disapprove of. One will find oneself in situations where confrontation is inevitable. Sometimes battles will have to be fought. A gardener has to eliminate pests that attack his plants. But there's nothing personal in it. It's just nature's way of ensuring quality.

In the Indian epic of Mahabharata, the warrior Arjuna is plunged into despair when he finds himself having to fight his own friends and relatives in the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

It is during this climactic scene that Lord Krishna reveals himself to Arjuna in his divine form and gives him a discourse on the nature of the soul, the law of karma and the paths that lead a soul to salvation. This much beloved discourse is known to us as the Bhagavad Gita (The Celestial Song)

Like what Arjuna faces, there will be moments in life where we have no choice but to let karma work itself out. We must realise that we are in the very position that we find ourselves in because of the cumulative result of the many choices and decisions that we have made up to that point in our life.

Sometimes Nature delivers a perfect storm. In such a situation, we have no choice but to face it head on. Accept it bravely. Take the pain. And in the act of acceptance, we dissolve the karma. Only then do we find peace. In that moment of peace, the soul finds its deliverance.

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