One of the key elements of the Gita’s teaching is the unattachment to the result of one’s actions. This is a really tricky thing to wrap one’s mind around.
I am able to most clearly see it in the little things in life. The ways in which being super invested in the part of an action that you don’t have control over hurts your own peace. Because we can control what we do, but we have no control over what others are going to do or how they take what we do. We can try to influence them, we can talk and explain, but in the end we only have control over ourselves and our own actions.
In that way it makes sense to me that the Gita advises us to do our own right action and then let the universe take care of the rest.
For a simple every day example let’s say you are driving and you let someone in who is trying to merge in front of you. You feel good about yourself for being nice to this person. But they don’t give a little wave to acknowledge that you chose to let them in. If you’re expecting to get that sign of gratitude, then you’ll be disappointed and come away from the experience agitated and upset. If you didn’t expect it, then you’re going to feel good whether or not the other person acknowledges you.If we can master this, then we’re going to be happy a lot more of the time! Because we’ll be happy and satisfied with our own actions but not perturbed by how others respond to those actions.
Once we get that down, the only thing left to upset us will be when others act to harm us. That’s a step for another day! I think if you practice feeling your satisfaction from what you’ve done and not from the gratitude of the people around you, you’ll find that your life has significantly more peace and happiness in it.
If you do give this a try, let me know how it goes!