The Principle of Immediate Action

“If you pursue an end, you enchain yourself. If everything you do is realized as though it were an end in itself, you liberate yourself” 

This Principle teaches us to obtain benefit from all the intermediate steps and situations that lead to the achievement of an objective. It doesn’t tell us that we should not have goals, since planning any activity is carried out on the basis of goals. It explains that given any goal, all the steps leading to it must be approached in the most positive way possible. Otherwise, all of the activities previous to achieving the goal produce suffering, and therefore, even if the goal is achieved, it loses meaning because of the vital cost represented by the suffering invested in those steps.

The following legend describes the problems that occur when one does not take the intermediate steps into account in a project, because one is concentrating only on the objective, which is far removed from one´s actual present situation.

A milkmaid was carrying a large jar of milk on her head, to be sold in the public market.

“Here I bring a jar filled with milk,” she said. “If a famine comes I will obtain one hundred rupees for it. With that sum I will be able to buy two goats. Every six months I will have two more goats. After goats, I get some cows. When the cows have bred, I will sell the calves. Then I will buy buffaloes, and soon, mares. The mares will foal plenty of horses. The sale of the horses will mean an abundance of gold. The gold will buy a big house with an inner courtyard. Then someone will come to my house who will offer a dowry adequate to my position, and we will be married. We will have a son whom we shall name Senor Luna.

When he is old enough he will come running to me and get too close to the horses. Then I will get angry and call his father to get the horses out. But since he will be busy doing other things, he will not do it. Then I will have to kick them out.”

The milkmaid hit her foot against a stone she had not seen and stumbled, so preoccu­pied was she with her reverie. And   the jar fell from her head, crashing against the ground and spilling all the milk.”

download: The Principle of Immediate Action.pdf

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