How to get from Aspiration to Results

Posted on January 31, 2013

You aspire to gain enlightenment, or perhaps unconditional love, wisdom, peace, or spiritual liberation. Your mind is pointed in the right direction, but how do you get to realize your aspiration? There are several steps, and each one has its promises and its traps.

Aspirations -> Choices -> Actions -> Results

You chose well, because in your spiritual yearning you envisioned a “goal outside of time.” This is of crucial importance because time is the great destroyer. Time brings to an end all things that are manifestations, but not that which manifests, the Self. The goals I mentioned are all aspects of the Self, which is eternal, blissful, and already present at the core of your being.

The first question then is how strong is your focus on this goal? How powerful is the flame of yearning in your heart? Is it a small smoldering fire you pay attention to every once in a while, or is it an intense blaze that burns all obstacles in its way, quickly and completely? This determines the speed of your journey.

Once your direction is set, it informs the choices you make along the way. But your choices are also impacted by your conditioned mind, which includes the pain body, your unconscious habit of recreating painful events for you. Everyone has a pain body – that is why we all sabotage us so easily. The pain body must be radically destroyed through self-awareness. Open Attention is an excellent tool for that.

Your choices will be as clear as your mind is. You can tell very simply how clear the mind is: the more stress you experience, the more the mind is removed from its optimal state of clarity. Clarity of course enables you to make the best choices. Mental stress is a huge problem and my preferred ways of clearing it are the stillness of Meditation and The Work of Byron Katie.

Okay, now you have the right goal and your mind makes the best choices. Now it is time to act. Actions lead to optimal results when you are free of “the expectation of outcome.” This is karma yoga, the path of action, which teaches us to do what we do in a free way, to do our best without attachment to results. Paradoxically, this is exactly what creates the best outcomes, because it allows you to act freely, while being present and joyful. Isn’t that the best way to do anything?

Overcoming attachments is the core aim of all spiritual practice. Attachments are poison that bring hate and confusion. There are two direct antidotes to this poison: vairagya and bhakti. Vairagya is the mental attitude of non-attachment that comes from discernment (viveka). A good way to gain discernment is to reflect on your actions, words, and thoughts: “Is this helpful or not, useful or not? Is it taking me closer to my highest goal or not?” Out of this practice of self-awareness, vairagya (non-attachment) naturally grows. Attachment is often confused with love, but it is exactly the opposite of it. We can say: Love is what is left after you let go of your attachments to what you love.

Bhakti is the other antidote to attachment. It is the glory of pure devotion to God or to your highest goal. In the Ramayana (one of the great epics of India) it is said: “Take all the strings of your attachments and wind them together into a rope. And with that rope tie yourself to the feet of the Lord.”

Notice, it doesn’t say, “Cut the strings.” As human beings we are prone to become attached. But when we become even more attached to our highest aspiration, then we counteract confusion and it will show in our actions and in the world we create.

We are the architects of our destiny and we can make course corrections at any stage of the journey. And remember: what you are striving for is nothing other than your own true nature, the blissful, eternal Self. In other words: the “result” of this journey is the real you. And because in essence you are already that, your ultimate success is guaranteed.


with love,

and the Skills for Awakening team


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One Response to “How to get from Aspiration to Results”

  1. sol
    Jan 31, 2013

    It is so helpfull that you explain this with in such a clear and simple way. Thank you Ram Giri.

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