"You have control over doing your respective duty only, but no control or claim over the results. The fruits of work should not be your motive, and you should never be inactive. (Bhagavad Gita 2.47) Almost completing The Artist's Way and my evolving yoga practice has made me realize one bad habit that is a large source of my unhappiness. I am a product oriented person.
I don't know that I have ever worked with anyone that was not pleased when they were able to take a step back and see a job well done. We deserve to earn this for putting in long hours and hard work.
However, it has been my experience that life has taught me to accumulate as many of these products as possible. This way, I have something to show for all of my hard work. "I deserve to bask in my glory and walk around with my pride!" My entire life has been in something I like to imagine as 'resume building mode'. How impressive can I make this look? How many names can I drop? How many photos and references can I provide to show how much better I am than someone else?
While working with The Artist's Way, I have also been working on Rod Stryker's The Four Desires. This is a book about how to manifest your intention through the tools of Tantric Yoga practice. (For you non-yogi's out there, tantra is not sex-oriented, but a practice of setting mindful intentions to guide you through your life path. That was a very brief misconception born out of the British colonization of India... among other Western misconceptions... but that is for another post.)
The basis of this Stryker's practice is the formation and manifestation of a sankalpa that is true and from the heart. A sankalpa is a pure intention that works in tandem with your dharma, or life's purpose. Sankalpa's are shorter-termed goals that are meant to be manifested anywhere from 6-18 months. For example, the sankalpa I am working with now is "I am an open and loving student of yoga. My hard work and dedication in teacher training provides life changing opportunities."
Everything in life has it's opposite. We are beings of physics, and so for every action (or energy), there is an equal or opposite reaction (or energy). The opposing (but also complimentary) force to sankalpa is the vikalpa. Vikalpa is that dark desire deep in our subconscious that keeps us from fulfilling our life's desires. Vikalpa is the fear of failure, the low self-esteem, and the addiction.
Stryker provides a guide to help us identify our vikalpa(s) so that we can recognize and overcome them. I have found mine to be "I am the very best at everything. I quickly succeed at everything I peruse, and I peruse these things alone."
My vikalpa has made me unable to enjoy my journey. Instead, I only strain to see what is ahead instead of recognizing what is right in front of me, bringing impatience and insecurity. Today, I am living my life with the intention to be mindful- smell the flowers (literally, Chicago spring has been beautiful!), listen more deeply, and enjoy the path that is holding my feet up in this moment.
The truth is, I have no way of knowing what is at the end. To project myself will only cause more sorrow- because nothing will ever be as good as what I already know.
Gratitude to you for reading this far!