How Embracing Non-Action Leads to Spiritual Freedom

embracing non-action with a spiritual mentor coachWhen navigating the external world, where we pursue our livelihoods and goals, the concept of non-action may seem impractical or even absurd. But for the earnest spiritual seeker, this notion is fundamental to reach the ultimate goal of Self-realization.

Non-action is not about being idle or inert, which is utterly impossible, since we’re always doing something—or rather, something is always arising in us—even if it’s just thinking. Embracing non-action is about removing the I-sense or ego that produces the idea that things or people or experiences are ours. We think, “This is my partner, my child, my house, my achievement,” and so on. But this sense of ownership creates desires, expectations, and attachment, which lead to the fear of losing that to which we get attached.

In turn, fear produces all sorts of defense mechanisms to protect the ego that engenders the sense of ownership in the first place. Similarly, the idea that we own our actions makes us the “doers” in our life-movie, which is like a double edged sword. If things go well, we feel valued and happy, but if they don’t go as we want or if we find opposition, then we experience negative emotions, which are often expressions of the subconscious judgment and guilt we feel for not being perfect or in control.

In truth, it’s all a game of the ego created by the ego to reinforce itself and hijack the limitless nature of our true Self. This is its function: to create individualized experiences through the illusion of duality and separation. But when it becomes our identity, it keeps us seeking validation, control, recognition, or power outside of ourselves, thus perpetuating this cycle of desire, attachment, fear, and negative emotions (see How To Dismiss the Ego To Discover Your Inner Voice and Your Life-Movie Is a Dream Within a Dream). It is like a dog chasing its tail.

To step out of this mental loop, we must develop detachment to embrace non-action by dissolving the egoic identification that fuels it. This demands great self-awareness, but it gets easier when we recognize that nothing really belongs to us. What is given can be taken away in an instant. We are born with nothing and we cannot take anything with us when our physical vehicle dies.

From a non-dualistic approach, we cannot be the owners or doers of our actions because we are the space where everything takes place—the Awareness that makes everything real. Life eventually takes us to this realization by forcing us to accept that we are the observers and have no control over anything; it is the ego-mind that creates the illusion of control and it is also the ego-mind that suffers when it clashes against reality. From a dualistic perspective, we learn to “let go and let God.”

Self-Knowledge Leads to Knowledge of the Eternal Self

If we observe our intentions and attitudes, as well as the motivations driving our actions, we can discern subconscious patterns and beliefs about ourselves, others, and life itself. As we gain self-knowledge, our perception and experience of reality spontaneously transforms.

Imagine that you’re going for a walk in the woods and you suddenly encounter a snake. Your first reaction is likely that of fear, which triggers many other negative thoughts. You may want to kill it or you may be thinking that you’re going to die; either way, the thoughts arising will likely be destructive. But if you take a second look and realize that it is not a snake you’re looking at but an old rope, all of those emotions instantly vanish. Now you cannot unsee the truth so you are free from your painful emotions.

Similarly, the false ideas we identify with do not allow our true power to emerge until we consciously relinquish the false, egoic sense of ownership and doership. As we let go of these identifications, even if momentarily, the ego’s hold diminishes, freeing us from painful thoughts leading to karmic entanglements and suffering. We are then able to witness how things unfold on their own and how life takes care of itself. A huge weight is taken off our shoulders.

Acting from a place of inner stillness and peace allows us to operate as divine instruments, guided by wisdom and love rather than the restlessness and dissatisfaction of the ego-mind. Instead of reacting to life, we embrace it fully and become one with its flow. Rather than being driven by wounded needs for validation and recognition, we open up to the bliss of our true nature—the light and love gracefully illuminating the perfection of  life.

Non-action is the essence of karma yoga, where actions are offered selflessly to the Divine, untainted by the ego’s insatiable cravings. It is a conscious choice to renounce the fruits of our actions, watching them happen organically without the pressure of our expectation or desire for personal gain. Living from this state of mind is humbling, empowering, and liberating at the same time because it allows us to discern what is real from what is not—the rope versus the snake— and to perceive the totality of existence without the fragmentation of the ego-mind (“me,” “you,” “mine,” “yours,” and so on).

In this state of surrendering, every moment becomes sacred, every action or event a dance of divine expression. We stop seeing others as separate entities supposed to make us happy by fulfilling our desires and expectations, and instead we perceive it all as the perfect unfolding of Consciousness to make us aware that we are Awareness. No expectations. No disappointment. No resentment. No guilt. This is the boundless freedom of the soul we all yearn for. So contact me today to be able to see what you cannot see and remove what gets in the way of emotional and spiritual freedom!

If you’re not ready to work with me one-on-one to delve deeply within, you can learn about the workings of your ego-mind to transform your perception and experience by implementing the Swan Method I share in You Are Your Healer: The Ultimate Guide to Heal Your Past, Transform Your Life & Awaken to Your True Self!

© 2024 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.

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