Most of us live a life filled with expectations and evaluations. As children, we strive to earn good grades. As adults, we strive to earn high-ranking performance evaluations at work. In other words, we are inextricably tied to outcomes. Digging deeper, you might even uncover the fact that our actions are defined by the desired outcome. Who diets without setting a weight loss goal? Who starts a savings account without a desired amount in mind? Who disciplines their children without expecting a specific outcome? No one. Whether at work or at play, most of us spend most of our days acting in ways that will manifest desired results. And frankly, it’s exhausting.
This was really brought home to me the other day as I walked Roxie along our standard route. (Animals are such great teachers!) Part of our regular journey is to walk by a school. One particular side of the school draws copious amounts of ground skink lizards. Every time we pass by this wall, Roxie goes nuts, sticking her nose in the crevice between the school wall and concrete sidewalk. Her tail wags wildly as she enjoys the process of trying to capture just one of these little creatures.
In the 5+ years we have been walking this route, she has NEVER caught a single lizard. However, the lack of “success” has not dampened her enthusiasm for going after them with gusto the next day. Roxie simply enjoys the process and the promise of the lizard hunt.
While I don’t have many aspects of my life in which I’m so blissfully free from outcomes, I do see my yoga practice as one delightful exception. Sure, when I go into handstand, I want to actually go upside down, but if I don’t, it’s still fun trying and I’m pretty sure I will learn something new in the process.
Years ago, I took several workshops from Byran Kest. He was fond of saying, “Anyone one can do a pose gracefully, but can you fall out of a pose gracefully?” I used to think he was referring to physical grace and not looking like an idiot. But now I’ve interpreted his comment to be much more about mental and emotional grace. Can I fall out of a pose and enjoy that process? Can I laugh it off instead of getting frustrated. Yes and yes!
Lastly, in the course of those walking meditations with Deepak and Oprah, Deepak offered a wonderful mantra that I will keep close in my mind and heart:
Om Anandham Namah
My actions are blissfully free from attachment to outcome.
What aspects of your life give you the opportunity to be blissfully free from results?