Action is held to be one of the traditional paths which lead to freedom, as are also meditation and knowledge, but you may need greater courage to start on either of the inner paths than you will to embark on the outer path of action. Action seems all too easy at first, especially to those who live in the Western world.
Meditation and knowledge often present psychological difficulties at the beginning, but in the end they can lead the investigator out of the wood—unless he or she succumbs to some apparent short cut, or is tempted to wander down delightful-looking side paths.
Both meditation and knowledge are said to be creative, which means that as we advance, they are capable of covering us with light and ever more light—which here means ‘understanding’— until at last we emerge into the full knowledge of Truth. But it is open to doubt whether action has any such creative energy hidden within it. It is true that we are sometimes warned that the powers of action are very great, that the contemporary world is the result of past actions, and this law will govern the world of tomorrow. But this is no indication of creative power; it merely demonstrates the fact that wherever there is action, there will be a long train of results clinging to it. It is therefore only in this relative sense that the world can be said to be created by action.
In fact, action possesses no creative power in its own right. It derives its seeming power or importance, or rather, its impetus and quality, from the mind. Action is, as it were, an outer manifestation, in slow motion, of a concept which has already been conceived at some level of the mind, and that mind has already been coloured by the quality of conscious awareness of the individual who possesses it. The texture of the mind and the sensitivity or obtuseness of the senses, have a strong direct influence on the quality of any action performed.
Subscribe to read more of this article and all of Self-Knowledge online