The notion, do nothing and accomplish everything makes absolutely no sense unless you are talking about the sun—it just sits there, 92 million miles away, and accomplishes everything here on earth.
While on first inspection this concept seems ludicrous when talking about human potential, it is an ancient Vedic premise that deserves further investigation. The sun, while sitting there doing its thing, doesn’t have a vested interest in whether the flowers blossom or you chop down its trees or kill its cattle.
Humans, on the other hand, are hardwired to care about their effect on others. In fact, as children, we are genetically hardwired to need mom and dad’s approval. If children did not care about mom and dad’s approval they would carelessly walk into the jungle and get eaten by a lion—and there would be no people!
In the animal kingdom, the young are forced to forge out on their own to fend for themselves—approval and protection from mom is over! Humans, however, just replace the need of approval from mom and dad with other stuff. Boyfriends or girlfriends, shopping, a better education, food, money, power, fame, and this list goes on and on.
Humans seem to never break this pattern of finding satisfaction from the approval of others or needing to be loved. If I love you, then I expect you to love me back! If I buy you a birthday present, then I expect one of similar value in return. If my child is acting out, then I become angry and send a message that I do not approve of that behavior. If I was nice to my child who was acting out, my mind tells me that they would think it is okay to act out.
My mind has convinced me I have to be angry in order to elicit the appropriate return on investment.
In this case, you are acting based on the behavior of the child rather than your true nature! If we can agree that your true nature is to be loving, joyful, kind, giving, compassionate and even powerful, then the anger directed at your child is a subtle form of manipulation to get them to behave according to your desire.
You are doing them and not doing you!
In Vedic Psychology, this process of changing your behavior to meet your needs or seek the approval of another is called, objective referral—doing them, not you. When you are acting based on your true, loving, joyful nature and you are not tricked by your mind to “do them,” this is called subjective referral–or as I call it, ‘doing you’!
Do Nothing and Accomplish Everything
Let’s take the example of someone being mean to you. You have three responses.
1. You can be mean back.
2. You can walk away and turn the other cheek.
3. You could realize that the only reason they were mean to you was because they were hurt in some way.
If someone is hurt and you hurt them back, there is a good chance they will continue to be mean. It is reasonable to assume that roses, once upon a time, did not have thorns. But after millions of years of being trampled on and eaten, they grew thorns to protect themselves, thinking no one would ever notice.
Children who were never able to get the approval from mom and dad and perhaps were traumatized often grow thorns, become mean,and throw emotional darts as a means of protecting themselves. So when you see someone coming at you with thorny behavior and being mean to you, instead of doing them, do you instead!
If you throw a dart back at someone who is throwing darts at you, they will only be more hurt by your darts and continue to throw them. If you abandon them or walk away, they will feel justified in throwing the dart because you abandoned them and hurt them even more. Both of these responses are examples of “doing them,” or objective referral.
The only viable option is to just “do you,” or subjective referral. Once you are aware that another person is hurting, through the window of compassion and understanding it becomes clear that responses #1 and #2 will only make things worse.
Doing you means acting based on your true, kind, loving and compassionate nature instead of responding to the pain you experience from their dart-throwing.
In this case, if you responded based on your true nature, with love and kindness, they would be disarmed. You would be acting more like the sun, shining your light on them and quite naturally inspiring the delicate and even broken petals of their flower to feel safe to open. When they begin to open, that person will begin to feel safe enough to take down their guard, remove the thorns and show their more delicate, vulnerable, loving side.
I have seen case after case where, when one party chooses not to react to an emotional dart and responds based an authentic sentiment of compassion and kindness, once arch-enemies become the best of friends!
In this way, you do nothing, just be your true self, and accomplish everything!
Acting based on your true nature does not require doing, it requires being.
Doing you does not include engaging in a form of subtle manipulation to elicit an appropriate response. When you act based on your true nature with no expectation to receive anything in return, you are free, weatherproof. You are not only happy in good weather or necessarily sad in crummy weather—you are weatherproofed from letting other people’s behavior have an adverse effect on you.
This is similar to the sun shining its light on the earth and not really caring whether or not the flowers blossom.
Now, of course, flowers do blossom and people do respond to love and kindness—but here is where it gets tricky: If you are nice to someone with the expectation that they are nice back, this is again doing them and another subtle form of manipulation.
It is the nature of the mind to be attached to the outcome of its actions. But we are not the mind—we are much more than that. To not be attached to the mind’s desires, to practice objective referral is what I call the Game of Life. The Vedas call it the Mahabharata, or great battle.
The simplicity of Vedic Psychology is that you simply do not engage in the behavior of others.
Always look for the action-step that involves subjective referral rather than objective referral, and taste the sweet water of doing nothing (doing you), and accomplishing everything!
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Editor: Renée Picard
Photos: elephant archives