If I relax the mind, how will things get done? Yet they do -- and better!


So there’s a frequent fear among spiritual seekers about “if I relax the mind, or if I engage in deep self-inquiry and turn all my attention inward towards the Source which is aware of all the thoughts and actions, who’s going to do all the things that need to get done? Who’s going to figure things out? Who is going to decide what the best course of action is? Who is going to take all the decisions, make all the moves that need to be made for survival or for happiness or for anything?” Because you might think to yourself, as so many seekers do, all the spiritual seeking is great and all, but I still need to get out there and do things. And who’s going to do those things? Where is that doing going to come from? Where is that decision-making going to come from?

But there’s a great and extraordinary paradox which is at the heart of spiritual truth, which is that all doing, even right now, even when you think you are in control of your actions, even when you think that you are taking important decisions, all of it, all of it is happening essentially by magic. It is all happening from the indescribable source. All of it is being generated from there. There is simply a misconception that we have that “I am doing it.” That it requires my effort. And what’s paradoxical is that when the magic goes through this misconception, it produces less interesting results, really. When the mind on the other hand is able to relax, when it is able to let go, to surrender, as a result in some sense of some form of inquiry, of some sort of looking within, when that happens, when there is that total relaxation, where one doesn’t lift a mental finger, and there is complete effortlessness…

You know, there’s a beautiful phrase in one of the ancient Hindu scriptures, it’s called the Ashtavakra Gita. It’s a dialogue between the wise man Ashtavakra and the king Janaka about enlightenment. And Ashtavakra says, the one for whom even blinking is a bother. Someone that, you know, you might say, lazy in a sense — that relaxed actually, it’s not laziness. That person is happy and nobody else.

So at that level of relaxation, that level of utter, total delight in just being, what happens is, strangely enough, that creation happens. It doesn’t necessarily happen in the way that you expect it to, and it doesn’t happen on the timetable that you expect it to. But when the expectation and that timetable are relaxed, when that anxiety is gone, when there is total relaxation, something emerges. When it emerges, how it emerges, what it does, no one can say, but the creative urge manifests almost without your noticing it. Faster than you can see it, when your attention is directed elsewhere, something happens. And that’s the great mystery and magic of the mind that is quiet and centered in its own nature, that is utterly relaxed, that one is simultaneously in a position of pure transcendental bliss regardless of what happens, regardless even of negative emotions, that there is nevertheless a transcendental bliss that flows through it, and that simultaneously when and only when one is enjoying this transcendental bliss is a space opened for something magical to do its thing unburdened by the usual set of expectations that would cabin it. So try this. You’ll find it out to be true, only I will say try it with this one caveat, which is that you can’t keep watching it. You can only notice it in retrospect. It’s like the idea of the watched pot never boils. Or someone who’s trying to go to sleep can never go to sleep. You must relax the mind and utterly let go of expectation, and then you may find, looking back, that things happened that you couldn’t possibly have expected, that you didn’t put any effort into. I don’t mean the world necessarily responding in some magical way, although that might happen, but that creativity came out of your own bodily and mental instruments in a way that you could not possibly have anticipated and that was in a sense, a strange sense, effortless.