Included in the experience of human awareness is the perception of time. Although we cannot know for sure, it seems that most other living beings do not ruminate about the past or project weeks, months, and years into the future. Because our minds are wired to imagine and then attempt to manifest our current desires into future expressions, we routinely travel out of the present moment. This is the nature of the human mind, and although we like to remind each other to stay present, all of us are future leaning. This inclination of the mind leads to experiences of joy when things go the way we want, and sorrow when they do not. As long as we are alive, intentions and desires will arise. The better we are at fulfilling our intentions, the happier we will be.
This phenomenon is addressed in the second chapter of the great epic the Bhagavad-Gita. In a powerful passage, cosmic intelligence in the form of Krishna enlightens humanity in the form of Arjuna in the skill set of effective actions. Arjuna is told, “You have control over the action alone, never over its fruits. Live not for the fruits of action, nor attach yourself to inaction.”
This does not imply that we should act without concern for outcome, or stop acting, for this isn’t possible. In fact, it is the anticipation of the fruit that induces us to act in the first place. Rather, the intention of this advice is to put our attention and energy on the action itself as the way to best achieve the intended outcome.
Consider these four steps:
Get clear on what you want to manifest
Envision the internal state you hope to experience if you accomplish what you want;
Set a clear trajectory to fulfill your intention – what are the initial and subsequent steps you will take to empower your desire with the greatest chance of being successfully fulfilled?
Come back to the present moment by quieting your mind in meditation and settling into an internally generated state of fulfillment, independent of the outcome of your action.
In the Bhagavad-Gita, this process is expressed in the phrase, “Yogastah kuru karmani” – established in being, perform action. With practice, our actions become more powerful and our happiness becomes increasingly independent of the fruits of our actions.