act from the heart

Today we ask that you do not do things, if your heart isn’t in it.

This is a very basic idea.  And yet most people do not know how to take action from the heart.

People are trained in childhood to do things because they “should.”

Eat your vegetables.  Do your homework.

There is nothing wrong with eating vegetables, and doing homework.  In fact, these actions are beneficial.  Vegetables are nourishing, and it is good to learn new things.

However, the child does not feel this, when he is told that he “should.”  The child is told that he is bad, and will be punished if he does not do as he is told.  So humans are conditioned to force themselves to do things, out of fear.  They do things because they fear pain, shame, loss, disapproval.

Or else they do things to get a reward.  Eat your vegetables, and you get a cookie.  Do your homework, and you can play a video game.  Get an “A” on your test and everyone will tell you what a good, smart kid you are.

This the way rats are trained, in scientific experiments.  Undesired behaviors are punished with an electric shock.  Desired behaviors are rewarded with a sugar pellet.  Rats can be conditioned to perform complex tasks in this way.

But do you think the average lab rat is happy?

Perhaps he is happy for a moment, when he is rewarded with his sugar pellet.

But that does not last long.  The rest of the time, he is miserable.  He lives in fear of electric shocks.  He experiences strong addictive cravings for the sugar pellets.

There is more to life than being a lab rat.

Freedom is possible.

To be free, you must undo your conditioning.  This is challenging, but it is possible.

You must stop forcing yourself to do things.  You must stop taking action based on fear of punishment and desire for reward, and instead act from the heart.

You may believe that your life would fall apart if you didn’t force yourself to do things all the time.  If you didn’t beat yourself up for “bad behavior,” and reward yourself for “good behavior.”

But if you don’t want to be a human lab rat, you must free yourself from the system of reward and punishment.

What would happen if you didn’t force yourself to do things?

Do you think you would be a lazy, irresponsible, worthless person who didn’t do anything?  Do you think you would eat poorly and watch TV all day?  Do you think you would lose your job and be homeless?

Maybe so.

But maybe freedom wouldn’t destroy your life.

Maybe if you stopped forcing yourself to do things out of fear and shame, you would connect with a deeper, truer reason to do the things you do.

You would act from love.

And it is possible that you would keep doing all the same things that you do now.  Only from a place of love and true desire.  Not force, not fear, not “should.” 

It is also possible that you would cease certain behaviors and actions that are not serving you.

You won’t find out until you stop forcing yourself to do things.

Step out of the system of reward and punishment.  Stop being a lab rat.

Eat your vegetables because you love your body and want to nourish it.  Not because you are a “bad boy” or a “bad girl” if you don’t eat your vegetables.  Not because if you force down those nasty vegetables, you get a sweet cookie.

You will know you are liberated when you really want to eat those “vegetables”, and no longer need the “cookie” as a reward.

So look at the “vegetables” in your life.  Look at what nourishes you, what makes your body and mind and existence healthy and strong, even if there is some challenge associated with it.  

Look at the ways you rob yourself of the ability to experience these things with pleasure, because you beat yourself up when you don’t do these things and call yourself “bad.”  

Look at the ways you give yourself “cookies” — addictive treats — as a reward for forcing yourself through these things, thus reinforcing in your mind that nourishing activity is so painful that the only way to get through it is to promise yourself a reward.

If you really want to be an actualized human, you must escape from these conditioned patterns.  It is possible.  Many humans do.

Do not force yourself to do anything.  Take action with your heart fully in it.