Posts Tagged ‘Bhagavad Gita’

My quote today is by Russell Simmons from his wonderful book, Success through Stillness Meditation Made Simple.  In his chapter entitled “The Heaviness of Success and Failure” he quotes this phrase from the Bhagavad Gita “You have control over your work alone, never the fruit (page 116).”[1] Then he writes

There are a lot of different ways you could interpret that passage, but to me it’s always meant “Stop worrying about how much money you make off your work (the fruit) and instead just stay focused on your work itself.” Because when you embrace the process of your work, instead of focusing on the results, you’ll always be happier, plus do a much better job (page 116).[1]

For some your work may be school, some may be working on friendships and/or relationships, or working to stay clean and straight and not use. For others you may be thinking about a paid job where you earn your living.  In life we want to be successful in all aspects of our lives not just at the so-called work that we may do for a living to support ourselves and our families.


I wonder what our lives would look like if we had the same definition as Russell Simmons. There are so many Thich Nhat Hanhpeople throughout history that we could point to who simply did the “work” without focusing on the outcome or the money or the fruits of that labor. In Buddhism we study people like Thich Nhat Hanh who started out as a young Buddhist student, then monk, then founded the Engaged Buddhism movement in response to the Vietnam War. From there he served as the delegate for the Buddhist Peace Delegation at the Paris Peace talks in 1969 and the Paris Peace Accords in 1973 to help end the war. Today he lives in Plum Village in France surrounded by his students and friends.[1]

Or what about those adventurous people in history like the Englishman Doctor David Livingstone who went to Africa in 1840 with two goals: to explore the continent and to end the slave trade.  In 1871 Henry Morton Stanley went to find the then “missing” Dr. Livingston.  Eight months later he found him and upon meeting is to have said these famous words, “Dr. Livingston, I presume.”[2]

Success does not mean that you have to be as brave as Thich Nhat Hanh or as adventurous as Dr. Livingston and Henry Stanley, but I hope that it does mean you look within and discover your passion and run to it. Live it. Love it. Discover it. Find it. Share it. Meet it.

How far will you go for your goals, passions, and dreams? What will you do for success? Where will you meet your success today?  Keep me posted I can’t wait to hear!

In gassho


[1] Simmons, R. (2014) Success Through Stillness Meditation Made Simple. NY, NY:

Gotham Books

[3] http://www.lionsroar.com/thich-nhat-hanh/?goal=0_1988ee44b2-cc25a1b6a0-20869581&mc_cid=cc25a1b6a0&mc_eid=f78b7768c4

[4] http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/stanley.htm




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What the heck is equanimity anyway?  Dictionary.com defines equanimity as mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium.  Wow, why didn’t they just say so?  Everyone would love to have more equanimity in his or her life that’s for sure.  What a wonderful day we would have if we were calm, composed, and emotionally stable throughout the day!  That, unfortunately, rarely occurs.

Most of us live our lives on a roller coaster moving up and down the emotional range from depressed to manic, from happy to euphoric, from bored to frantic.  What’s that all about? The Bhagavad Gita says, “Perform all thy actions with mind concentrated on the Divine, renouncing attachment and looking upon success and failure with an equal eye. Spirituality implies equanimity. [Trans. Purohit Swami]” That’s what it’s all about.

So how do we take this life of ups and downs, highs and lows, and turn our focus from the emotions to the Divine to spirituality to equanimity—meditation, contemplation, and sitting are ways that we can train the mind and body to stay “cool” as Allan Lokos writes, “A modern definition of equanimity: cool.  This refers to one whose mind remains stable and calm in all situations (Lokos, Pocket Peace).  I would love to be able to keep my mind stable and calm regardless of the situation I am in.  How about you?

Jean-Yves Leloup in his book  Compassion and Meditation: The Spiritual Dynamic between Buddhism and Christianity writes, “The meditative mind sees disagreeable or agreeable things with equanimity, patience, and good-will. Transcendent knowledge is seeing reality in utter simplicity. (146)”   So now is the time to begin a regular practice of meditation/sitting.  We used to say in Unity that prayer is talking to God and meditation is shutting up long enough to “listen” to God.  Sitting in the quiet and simply watching your breath or counting is an opportunity to create equanimity in your mind, body, and spirit and create a life of peace, patience, and good will.

That’s easy enough when your life is going along smoothly, but it is not so easy when your life is filled with challenges, problems, and fears.  There is one caveat though about having a regular meditation program in your life, it builds up inside of you like snow on the Colorado Rockies in winter.  Each day you sit or meditate some internal peace appears and helps you stay calm and collected for a particular length of time.  The next day you will discover that the time of peace and calmness increases and that increase is directly related to the time spent in the quite. Exactly like the depth of the snow in the Rockies.

If you have ever walked through the forest after a recent snow fall the quiet is incredible.  The peace and beauty is mind boggling.  The monkey mind quickly calms, the blood pressure goes down, and you are filled with the beauty of the moment and those anxious or fearful thoughts seem to have disappeared.  Equanimity has replaced them.

You are probably thinking, “Oh, that’s easy to do in that situation, but not in my life, rushing to work through traffic jams, deadlines imposed on me from higher ups, children with the flu, financial problems, college loan debts, and more!  In my life equanimity is impossible.”  It may not be easy, but nothing is impossible.  We got to the moon then Mars.  We found a cure for small pox and polio and many other diseases that masses of people died from in the past.  Someone believed that it could be done and they did it.

One of my favorite poems is by Edgar A. Guest: “It Couldn’t Be Done.”

Somebody said that it couldn't be done,
  But he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
  Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
  On his face.  If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
  That couldn't be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
  At least no one ever has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
  And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
  Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
  That couldn't be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
  There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
  The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
  Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
  That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.

Our plan for this week is to read and live our life like the man that Edgar Guest described in his poem.  Why not? Just think: if you start to sing as you tackle the thing that could not be done you can do it! Simply do it with equanimity!

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