Sunday, 1 March 2009

Dharma message for the day

DO NOT BE CONCERNED WITH THE FRUIT OF YOUR ACTION--just give attention to the action itself. The fruit will come of its own accord. ~Eckhart Tolle, 'Practising the Power of Now'

I have been thinking about this quote for hours, since I first read it in 'Practising the Power of Now.' I know that this practice is what I need, more than any other. Even though the title of this blog is 'Dharma in the Dishes', referring to a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh that espouses this same practice, I still struggle continuously with staying out of what Eckhart Tolle calls 'psychological time' (ie, being stuck in thoughts of the past or the future and rejecting the now). If what I'm doing right now is the purpose of my life, there is no failure. I am doing it right now.

...even in the most simple actions, like turning the pages in a phone book, or walking across the room. The main purpose for turning the pages is to turn the pages; the secondary purpose is to find a phone number. The main purpose for walking across the room is to walk across the room; the secondary purpose is to pick up a book at the other end, and as soon as you pick up the book, that becomes your main purpose. ~Eckhart Tolle, 'A New Earth'

Right. So the next time I try to reverse round a corner, I will remember that my purpose is not to back around the corner perfectly, but to look over my shoulder. Then my purpose is to turn the wheel, then to take the turn off, etc. And the fruit of the action will take care of itself. (Instead of looking over my shoulder, fearing that I will be unsuccessful and totally freaking out, which is my usual method!)

I can apply this lesson to every aspect, every moment of my life. ... And just typing that sentence, I began to feel anxiety about whether or not I can do it--in the future. While right now, my purpose is actually to type this sentence.

This really is a profound practice.


Julia Lundman said...

Well, lately I have been feeling like karma is definitely something that we can control if our intentions and actions are coming from a more enlightened state of mind. what has been troubling me is the things that happen unexpectedly, "bad luck" this something we inadvertently bring about due to our past actions as a result of some imbalance?

it is difficult to put away these thoughts and think in the present without wondering about how past actions are playing out now. For me, that is what makes the practice of living in the very immediate moment difficult. But perhaps that is the challenge being offered.

Thank you for your wonderful blog. I really get a lot out of reading it. Take care, Julia

Carla said...

Thanks, Julia. I haven't given a lot of thought to past lives or karma. I don't really believe in reincarnation. I do believe that we never die--in the sense that nothing can be destroyed or created. We are an aggregate of energy (at the atomic and subatomic level) that has come together in a particular way, and when we die, that energy still remains, though it will never come together in the same way again. In the sense that we are 'neither produced nor destroyed', as the Heart Sutra teaches, there may be a kind of rebirth.

There is a karma, but it's in the present moment. That's what I think.

Julia Lundman said...

hmmmmm...I find karma is a really complex concept to understand. I like your explanation a lot. I believe the same thing.