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How to Find Joy in Your To-Do List

Since much of my life has been balancing tight deadlines and a passionate vision, I would like to share my experience on how to find joy even in a packed to-do list.

As I write this post, I am putting the finishing touches on five albums and fourteen books. And that is only the beginning. Live shows, animes, VR, and more… all in service to the swift realization of the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS), to protect all life.

Since much of my life has been balancing tight deadlines and a passionate vision, I would like to share my experience on how to find joy even in a packed to-do list.

We may perceive tasks to do as objects outside ourselves to be conquered and cleared so that we may eventually find freedom and ease. We can lose sight of gratitude for the grace this moment brings, and succumb to feeling that life is happening to us.

Ancient yogis and enlightened masters speak of the shimmering veil of illusions, called Maya in Sanskrit, that makes up our phenomenal world. We think that objects, including our thoughts and perceptions, are solid and fixed, when in fact they are merely temporal and will not last.

Beneath all things that pass – our likes and dislikes, the dramas of life, the daily dance through which we live – there is an eternal light that remains. Beyond the shape and interaction between all objects in life, everything that has form is an expression of pure consciousness. All that is before us, around us, within us, is the result of an eternal love affair between matter and consciousness.

As we interact with each other and the dense vibrations in today’s world, it is easy to live as though asleep, seduced by the mirage of what we believe to be real.

There is no better time to practice karma yoga. In karma yoga, you understand that action is a means to self-liberation. You learn to see action as an opportunity to serve and realize the divine within all. In this practice, serving is not seen as something done to another, to one who is believed to be separate from oneself. To serve another is to serve the eternal light of timeless love within, beyond the mirage of maya.

The revered humanitarian, spiritual master and modern saint known as Amma (Mother) or the Hugging Saint, speaks of our inherent interconnection: “The sun shines down. Its image reflects in a thousand different pots filled with water. The reflections are many, but they are each reflecting the same sun. Similarly, when we come to know who we truly are, we will see ourselves in all people.”

She goes on to say, “Do your work and perform your duties with all your heart. Try to work selflessly with love. Pour yourself into whatever you do. Then you will feel and experience beauty and love in every field of work. Love and beauty are within you. Try to express them through your actions and you will definitely touch the very source of bliss.”

The word karma is derived from the Sanskrit word “kri”, meaning “to do”. In its most basic sense, “karma” means action and “yoga” means union. Karma Yoga then is the path of union through action. Karma yoga is described as a way of acting and thinking without thought of personal gratification, or one’s desires, likes or dislikes. One acts without being attached to the fruits of one’s actions.

Work done without expectations, motives, or anticipation of its outcome purifies our mind and gradually makes us fit to experience the divine in all things. It is not necessary to become a hermit, or be without action, in order to practice a spiritual life. It is precisely through action, through meeting what is with openness, alertness and ease, that we meet the divine.

Take a moment and consider this: What if you saw tasks in your life as an opportunity to become aware of consciousness arising in each moment? Are they a call from the divine bringing you back to wholeness? What if you were not separate from the tasks before you? What if by learning to act lovingly, with integrity and kindness, action were leading you to live each moment as an expression of the divine?

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