There is action in inaction and inaction in action

Namo namaha.नमो नमः

karmany akarma yah pasyed

akarmani cha karma yaha

sa buddhumaan manushyeshu

sa yuktah kritsna karma krit

Those who see inaction in action and action in inaction live is wisdom. He or she is a Yogi and can accomplish anything.

Bhagavad Gita IV-18

Are you really not doing anything when you are not doing anything? No, there’s no misprint here, you read it correctly. I repeat; think and answer – Are you really not doing anything when you are not doing anything?

This question often pops up in my mind when I see a lot of people wasting their time, lazing around, finding excuses to not work. But are they really not doing anything when they think they are not? Well, no. The answer is a plain simple no. This NO would need a little explanation and a little broadened vision to understand the undercurrent meaning of it all.

Let me discuss the concept of action, inaction; inaction in action and action in inaction with you. Confused? Don’t be; it’s not as complicated as it may sound.

The entire universe is so designed that all our actions and the so called inactions are actually basically moving over a constant background of activity. We are moving with time, continuously, sometimes realising and sometimes totally ignoring the fact. But in any case, life is moving on, striving ahead. The process of life itself is so designed that it is in a constant mode of working, in a constant mode of evolving, growing. And when that happens, everything within and around us is actually working to make that happen. Even the inactions.

Even when we think we are not doing anything, we actually are! Maybe there is no visible activity, but our body is constantly working inside; we are breathing, digesting food, doing everything to keep this body alive. Medically, these are known as involuntary actions. Even though they are involuntary it is still an action. So there’s not even a single moment in our lives when we are not working, because we are working even while we are sleeping.

Now, this should make us realise that when we are designed to constantly work, then why shouldn’t we do something which is more meaningful; than merely working involuntarily (in other words lazing around and wasting time) to keep ourselves alive? In this universe everything in nature, living or otherwise has a role to play, which helps the entire universe to work smoothly. All our actions are actually a part of the big drama going around and if the assigned duty is not carried out by each individual, it results in cosmic imbalance effecting everyone in one way or the other. And here enters the concept of Karma.

Should only a physical activity be termed as Karma? Actually, it does not. All our thoughts, words, along with actions, are what form karma and create a karmic cycle.

Let’s get our facts clear about all this action and inaction concept today.

Karma can generally mean action. Karma is NOT referring to the consequence of our actions but to the very action itself. Karma is action, not consequence of action. So right now my karma is writing, your karma is reading. But the universe, consciousness, has to maintain order or balance. So any movement within it creates a disturbance in its field. So the universe, consciousness, has to do something to put the balance back in. It creates a karma, an action to compensate for your initial karma or action. But that is not up to you or I for that matter. We have no say in what that following karma will be. It is also NOT a reward or a punishment for our initial karma. That’s not how the law of karma works. It is action then reaction but- and here’s the kicker- the reaction is not a punishment or a reward directed at us or anyone in particular. It is just a neutralizing of the order of things in the fabric of space-time. So you never have to worry about accumulating good or bad karma ever again.

Knowing what is “action”

Every action we do is producing a reaction and thus, completing a karmic cycle. Action is not just restricted to the physical activity, because a thought or a word spoken can generate a reaction too. So, needless to mention here, that every action of ours should produce positive reaction, benefitting the entire universe in its own small way.

Defining “inaction”

As I mentioned earlier there is actually no state of inaction in us. Physical inactivity may be termed as inaction, but spiritually speaking, an action which does not produce a reaction is inaction. Because when we are doing our actions so as to not produce a reaction, we actually are breaking the karmic cycle. But this should not drive us to “not do anything” so as to not produce a reaction; because “not doing anything” does produce a reaction.

There are a set of actions which ought to be done, amounting to our existence. If we fail to do them; we are producing a negative reaction. Let me give an example. Suppose, I need to catch a train to reach somewhere; but I sit on the platform and do not get on the train I am supposed to board. My act of not boarding the train may seem as inaction, but since it is producing a reaction (I don’t reach my destination, where I am supposed to be) it is a wasteful action and not Inaction.

There is “action in inaction”

This is the state when one may physically appear to be inactive but the thoughts, concepts, and the vibrations generated by a person changes the world around them. This is action in inaction. This explains the importance of always thinking positive and well being for every living thing on this planet.

There is “inaction in action”

When the person understands that he is merely an instrument to carry out a lot of things in this world, his duties are nothing, but a part of this big cosmic drama, everything he does is for a reason, everything he does should intend to make the world a better place. And all this, is done without an expectation or a selfish motive. He starts realising that he is not the one responsible for carrying out anything, things are just happening. He refuses to take the credit for anything, all his actions are driven by selflessness; this is the state of inaction in action. This concept is referred to as Svadharma – doing one’s own duty for the good of all. Dharma refers to the law of being. This is the idea that everything in the universe has a purpose and a duty to carry out that one purpose. So the dharma of the sun is to shine, of fire to burn, of water to wet, of ants to work, of a flower to bloom, of a pen to inscribe, of eyes to see, of a car to drive, of a child to grow, of a book to teach, of a parent to love and protect, of a ball to bounce, the stars to shine, the moon to control water etc. There are billions of svadharma happening all at once in this earth.

With the karma philosophy in place, one should be able to understand that there’s a particular flow to life, there could be a rest period but there’s definitely no inaction anytime in our lives. So, though rest is essential, but inaction is simply not possible. So, why not enjoy this process of being spent compulsorily and continuously, in a more constructive way, where the story of our lives could be a trendsetter for many others to follow for a brighter tomorrow? Why just while it away or worse, spend it in wasteful actions?

Let’s shoo away that laziness the next times it comes calling out for us. Try to be actively inactive and inactively active too. We in any case cannot defy the universal law of karma, the law of cause and effect.

Let us get up to do what we are supposed to do, because technically speaking; now you know that we can NOT “not do anything” – Ever.

Thank you for joining me on this journey to freedom.

Love light and blessings to you all.

OM shaanti, shaanti, shaanti.


©️2021 A Yoga Mindset all rights reserved.


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