In Between Beginnings and Endings: Learnings In ‘Action’ for Self Empowerment
Words by Seema Azharuddin
I am in my home city of Hyderabad in India as I write. This spectacular secular country never fails to empower me further at different levels, on every visit. I keep evolving between time and thoughts and right now I’m between the beginning of the year just ended, and a new one just begun.
Most years it was resolutions and holiday planning, but this year I have truly had the need to reflect on the year that was, and the year that will be through actions.
Allow the word action to echo for a minute.
The universal Sanskrit word, ‘Karma’, is often confused in meaning, ‘fate’. The true meaning is ‘Action’, and it’s very well explained in Bhagavad Gita, the infinite and holy book of wisdom, values, and beliefs, and goes deep in exploring and explaining the six-letter word in seven tenets.
7 Principles of Learning in Action for Self Empowerment
Be Consciously Active
I read a sacred text that says none of us can refrain from action, and beginnings and endings are best defined through them. So, I embarked on an action path and I was more actively productive today than most days, only because I consciously performed the action of my duties without laying claim to the fruits of action or the rewards gained from it. This is the first of the seven tenets of action and I followed it by arranging the crockery cabinet.
Act Skillfully & With Focus
While I did not receive a pat on the back or kudos for my day’s duties, I did feel a great sense of relief and can move to what’s next—the second tenet. It focuses on how to perform one’s duty skillfully and without distraction. In following this tenet with skillful and single-minded concentration, I arranged my crockery cabinet in perfect unison of color, shape, and usage, displaying its simple beauty with clarity. It was most gratifying.
Act In a State of Equanimity
The third and fourth tenets of action ask that action be abided by and followed, and how? I quote, “by being in a state of equanimity, free of attachment or aversion, desire or anger, honor or dishonor. Only then actions will take the right shape.” When I read these two steps, I went back to the crockery cabinet to shake myself off of the pleasure of attachment to it, but failed quite miserably for a while, however, I did it and that deserves some credit, in my opinion. I will work at it better and practice.
Surrender to Action
Be it a beginning or an ending, actions account for the results one seeks, followed by consequences if any, and the responsibility towards them. This said, the tenets of action as said in the holy book, the Bhagavad Gita, lays down the path to follow, to lead one’s actions to a climax of ‘Moksha’, freedom. This is no ordinary freedom, but the ultimate ‘nirvana’ one can attain and have, and if followed leaves you with no consequences. To this, there is the dimension of ‘surrender’ that calls for a view. Whether to the Supreme Being or one’s inner self, the focus of action should be to perform in the spirit of worship and detachment from the physical self as in not taking credit as the ‘doer’, but as seen as being done at the behest of a higher self or spirit. This is the fifth tenet and it’s all about the surrender of self to the action. If you will, just take a deep breath for now and say “wow”!
Accept All Outcomes
At this point, I will round up on the sixth and finally on the seventh tenet of action. Not sure if I can in a few lines, but let’s understand that action can lead to bondage and freedom and, therefore, any action can result in success or failure, honor, and dishonor, gain and loss, etc. It is in accepting these turnarounds that attitude alone can bring salvation. It is this simple act of accepting and cultivating this attitude that will lead to purifying all work in action undertaken throughout one’s life. This said I will have to practice, but I’m still at “wow”!
Take New Action
I stand now in front of the crockery cabinet. I will take everything out and replace it with seven empty shelves to skillfully place my tenets of action on them. Did Nike know, I wonder, what it took for them to “Just do it”? Just a thought that crossed my mind. No doubt, it’s our actions and how we perform those actions, our ‘Karmas’, that will define who we are. Come join me. My crockery cabinet needs help and a hammer.
About the Author
Seema Azharuddin has been actively involved in a variety of fields like acting, producing, writing, journalism, and consulting, including being a champion for several causes and campaigns. Currently, she continues to volunteer as a spokesperson for the Indian diaspora for Biden’s presidency and contributes to a number of publications.
Photo by Linus Mimietz, Courtesy of Unsplash
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