The book Eat Pray Love was a phenomenal success several years ago and its author gave a TED talk recently. You can watch it here.
She has some wise things to say in that video … but watching it, I was yearning for her to offer an even deeper truth.
She advises that when you get knocked off kilter in life, by either great success or great failure, that the way to handle it and not let the extreme experience consume you is by going home.
Especially when you recognize that “home” and “Om” – the Sanskrit symbol of the Universe – are one and the same.
Her talk is essentially a lesson in “non-attachment to the outcome” – meaning, working diligently and with love towards your goals, because you know that you’ve been put on this earth to work (yes, it’s true – we’re not here to lounge our days on the sofa with a stash of bon-bons). And when you stay in the moment and work your hardest, and then let go of it, and allow the Universe to handle the results, then you’ll be in a beautiful place inside. You will have done your part, and the Universe gets to the do the rest.
This “non-attachment to the outcome” lesson is another way of saying, “You are not the do-er.” This is straight from the ancient text The Bhagavad Gita, or Song of God, where Krishna helps the warrior Arjuna to understand that it is his role in life to go to battle. “Dream not you do the deed of the killer,” Krishna says. What he means is that Arjuna is to fulfill his karma and his true nature by going off into the battlefield and doing his best, but whether his opponent lives or dies is not up to him.
Only Eternity can give or take a life.
Same thing with doctors: The best ones know that they don’t heal anyone. They maybe change the conditions, and offer a very important input into the process, but the outcomes of an individual case are so totally not under the control of a physician.
If you already watched that Elizabeth Gilbert video, then maybe go watch it again (or watch it for the first time), now with the perspective that “home” is not necessarily some “thing you do’ – she’s got it 100% right with the advice of focusing on what you care about more than yourself, but isn’t that, just maybe, the Eternal inside you (inside us all)? Dive in with your practice. Give yourself over to meditation – and to a hobby, or dedication of interest, or corgis. 🙂
Putting your spiritual self first and foremost, above your fickle ego and transient desires, will always, 100% of the time, let you weather the storms of happenstance and manage yourself with grace, regardless of whether it’s complete failure or overwhelming success that is spending a moment of time in your life.
“This too shall pass,” said JC, and when it does, what will you be left with?