I met a really good man on a really weird day in my life. He was giving me advice, and he was kind enough not to charge me for it. I noticed he was wearing a ring with a gold cross, so I asked him about his faith.
“You gotta fight like hell,” he said, “and then leave the rest to Him.”
I laughed and thought about what he said. The statement didn’t ring true to me, even though I think it would have years ago.
Because I don’t think doing good work is about fighting. Perseverance is important, yes. But the trick is in letting go.
Let me explain.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna is the warrior who has a raging battle before him, and he is so overwhelmed by it he falls to the ground in anguish. He can’t fight, he says. He doesn’t have it in him. And Krishna is there to guide him on his way, to teach him lessons on how to live so that he doesn’t end up in a puddle all the time. He has to face the task in front of him.
But he does not have to fight, necessarily.
What a warrior does is persevere.
When you have freed yourself from attachment to the results of work, and from desires for the enjoyment of sense objects, you will ascend to the unitive state.
Reshape yourself through the power of your will; never let yourself be degraded by self will. The will is the only friend of the Self, and the will is the only enemy of the Self.
To those who have conquered themselves, the will is a friend. But it is the enemy of those who have not found the Self within them. (6:6)
The Divine succeeds in our lives when we let go, not when we build up that resistance that is the essence of what we call “fighting.”
Our will, that solar plexus middle-of-the-body place, needs to be vibrant and whole, but not hard. Not full of resistance. Instead, it is a place within us that teaches us and guides us once we open up our will to a higher intelligence. It is about alignment with the Greater, rather than fighting in our own little corner of the room, in the darkness, alone.
Our misery comes from our will being at odds with the Great Mother, the Great All.
Have you ever noticed that the thing you’ve been looking for only shows up when you stop looking? That’s what I mean by letting go.
The trick, in accomplishing anything—rather than fighting like hell—is in letting go of your desire for accomplishment to begin with. (This is really fucking hard.)
The trick is simply to turn upward, to practice surrender, to align with the higher will for your being. When you do that, you can let that Greater Intelligence move through and operate from the deepest places within you. Once you open to that force, rather than fighting it, you will be guided to make the path forward sturdy enough so you know where to put your feet.
So it’s not, Fight like hell and leave the rest to Him. You leave it all to Him from the beginning, and you say, Help me do your will. Guide me, I hand it all over to you. Show me the way.
This is so relaxing! And so much better than trying to do it alone. Because a lot of times those “fights” we commit to in life come more from anger than they do from love. And so we’re acting out of anger, or ego. And that’s not helpful. We may win, but it’s just a boost to our egos, and then our egos get fed, and then those things get hungrier, which is not good. So the practice is, turn upward first, ask for guidance, and be open to receiving it, and lead through that hearty space.
I say this as a woman who always considered herself a fighter. I fought for my life as recently as last year. But that “fighting” was actually from a gentle, knowing place within me, not from a place filled with rage. It was in the humble asking for guidance, for forgiveness, for whatever the hell the Divine wanted to grant to get me out of my mess. And it came, and I received.
So, back to my friend, this good guy.
He also told me something else that day, something deep and true and wise that rang true as soon as he said it.
He said, “You don’t need to pay me. But do me a favor, and when you come across a poor box one day, put money in it.”
Oh yes, my friend, I said, and nodded. On this, we totally agree.