In my task – in our task – of putting together the proposal,
each person, focusing one-pointed attention on the most important task
at hand, learning about and from each other, was able to contribute what
they had. And out of apparent shortage – of time, expertise, resources –
People came together and the application was completed by the deadline.
I’m working to remain detached from the outcome of the proposal. Being detached isn’t hard when you’re truly ambivalent.
the proposal is successful, more than $13 million will come into our
community to support collective work to reduce the upstream causes of
health inequality. But when there is a lot of money on the table,
everyone is your friend. Everyone seems dedicated.
It is during the times of leanness and uncertainty that deep dedication emerges, and bonds based on shared mission develop.
in the interim, we have been coming together, and are starting to plan
what we are going to do together even if we are not funded. We’re
finding out who’s personally invested. And something else is happening.
More people are coming to the table – not for the possibility of money,
but for the opportunity to give of themselves, to contribute to
something larger than themselves.
In the months after the
application went in, I found myself slipping back into less
effectiveness, and wondered why. I noticed that in addition to scanning
possible activities and focusing on the most important one, during this
very effective time, I also had been subconsciously following Easwaran’s
advice to choose first the important task that I also least wanted to do
– the one on which I was most likely to procrastinate. When I started
doing this again, I noticed that all the prana that had been leaking out
in having the dreaded task in the back of my mind now was conserved.
And when the dreaded task was done, the sense of having overcome the
selfish desire of focusing first on a more pleasant task released more
prana that found me looking for, and then diving into, the next selfless
activity – often one that I wanted to do, but now could do with gusto
since it was truly the next most important undertaking.
found out something else. At the end of the day, and at the start of the
next day, I was less tired. More energetic. Perhaps because the nagging
thought about the procrastinated task wasn’t leaking prana through the
day and night.
Most days and months don’t have a big obvious opportunity to do good.
But being open to each little opportunity, and focusing on that with one
pointed attention, it all adds up. It adds up in relationships and in
helping others. It adds up in releasing, and conserving and focusing
prana. Faithful one-pointedness in the small things builds capacity that
can be called on for the bigger things.