Step 6

Understand confluence of forces

Most of the readers are earnestly anxious to know and understand spirituality amidst commercialized worship centres. As Swamy Chinmayananda said, “they need to be informed about their spirituality”, we are dedicated to the re-education of spiritual seekers in Canada.

In the ancient days of Vedic India, in the time when people worshipped the sun and the elements, a sacrificial ritual called a yajna was one of the most popular forms of rituals. During this ritual, the members of the community gathered together to invoke peace and welfare for all. The yajna is still performed today in many parts of India.

The ritual is centered around a fire trough. While chanting Vedic verses, the members of the community offer into the fire handfuls of a mixture of grains and other objects symbolizing the community’s wealth. All those gathered for the ritual make their offerings in a spirit of dedication, by offering their individual efforts toward a common goal.

The idea behind the ritual is simple. If many people offer their labours toward a common goal, good results abound. Every successful enterprise is a yajna ritual of sorts. Today, despite the emphasis on aggressive leadership and the competitive spirit, companies falter unless they learn how to engender in their workers a generous dash of team spirit and an attitude of teamwork. Business enterprises spend thousands of dollars to send their managers and their teams to week-long seminars to help them develop a spirit of cooperation with one another. Sitting in a cozy conference room many miles from their desks or perched cross-legged on a lawn at a country lodge, managers of low and high rank play games with one another in order to establish a bond of cooperative thinking among themselves. All this is in an attempt to be able to work together toward a common goal once they’re back in their offices. The team building seminars is our modern day counterpart of the ancient Vedic ritual. The villagers of Vedic times knew, and the managers of our present-day corporations know, that one person can accomplish little by himself or herself. One person can inspire a company or a nation. One individual can ignite many hearts and minds to new endeavours but, alone one person cannot produce much at all.

One morning, as I sat on the doorstep facing the balcony, a small movement on the balcony wall registered in the corner of my eye. I turned my head to look more closely. A row of ants was traversing the wall of the room. Amidst several rows of single scurrying beings, I saw a large triangular piece of leaf moving down the vertical plane. I leaned over to get a closer look. In front, at the apex of the triangle, one ant seemed to be in charge of determining the course of the journey down the length of the wall. At the back, on base of the triangle, three more ants pushed the huge piece along, a piece more than ten times their own size. With the perfect harmony of a well-adjusted team, they moved swiftly down the length of the wall. Toward the bottom, they ran into a projection, almost successfully manoeuvred over it, but then fell, with all four positions still intact, about one foot to the ground. Once on the ground, they continued in their formation to their home, a hole in the ground, into which they dragged their gigantic treasure. I thought to myself, “If we could only see such precise, efficient cooperation in our modern corporations or community meeting rooms!”

Return for a moment to the two exercises with a pencil in “Looking with X-ray Eyes” chapter. We concluded two things from those exercises:
1. Reality is not what it seems.
2. Every object we look at is the result of a confluence of countless forces.
The creation of every object and every enterprise is the result of countless forces working in harmony.

Write down one achievement which you are very proud of.
Now write a numbered list of all the people, known or unknown, who helped you accomplish your task.
Reread your list and think about it.

Mentally send a thank you to each person who helped you in your endeavour. In some cases a negative action by a person may have spurred you on to increased activity on your task. Include that person in your thank you list also.

When we do an exercise like the one above, we discover very quickly that our role in any endeavour is relatively small, and, no matter what its size, our role cannot be played without the supporting roles of others. No matter how small or big our act we do nothing in a vacuum. We can accomplish what we accomplish because of the help of thousands of forces, people, and events. We benefit from the past thought of great thinkers. We benefit from the lessons our parents and teachers. We benefit from the advice of our mentors and the slaps of our enemies.

Finish each day by thanking the many contributors to your success and well-being. As you ponder each day’s ups and downs, gratitude, a deep peace and contentment will grow, as well as a keen appreciation of the interdependence of everything on this globe.

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