Life is best lived when we expect nothing from it, but we give it our all. The same goes for our relationships, our studies, our work, our health, and anything else uplifting.
Even if we are exhausted, lacking energy, or on the brink of death, give the gifts of smiles, energy, and laughter. Controlling our effort is important. And it takes constant vigilance. Part of the Buddhist eightfold path is to exert the right effort. Giving the right effort requires we give our all, expecting nothing in return.
Here are five ways to expect nothing, but give everything:
Study with joy. When we study, for optimal results, we should sit up straight, feel charged, and work with smiles and laughter. The moment tension arises, laugh it off, puff out our chests in joy and pride, widen our eyes with anticipation, and hit the books. Try to make our posture one of someone who is excited about studies. When we perform these little rituals, we develop the mindset for joyous success, never defeated by a bad grade.
Work with reward-bearing effort. When I worked in a record store, perhaps before you were born, I gave my work everything. I longed to one day gain a managerial position. So, I said hello to every customer, worked the shifts no-one wanted, and pushed myself to work nonstop. I then came down with a severe disability, no longer able to work until years of rehabilitation. But the work ethic would return to me later in life. Thus, every investment made in today’s work ethic carries over tomorrow.
Love with all you’ve got, expecting nothing in return. That means never complaining, arguing, criticizing, using sarcasm, or teasing. Giving our all means giving nothing but love, even when mistreated in return. Giving our all means hosting not a single unkind thought toward a single soul. Giving our all means we become pure love, which I believe is the underlying, deep-rooted aim of every living being, whether we know it or not.
Die with joy. One friend of mine, on her death bed, smiled away, never complained, and instead queried everybody on their birthdays and anniversaries. Turns out, she gathered this information to time her passing, ensuring she was alive for everyone’s special day. Best of all, before she died, she started having dreams of heaven and the “wee people.” After her passing, I read in a near death experience book that visitations from the “wee people” are common to many near death experiencing people. Truly a role model, she gave dying her all.
Make our thoughts purely uplifting. Ensure our thoughts are always positive, for us and for everyone else. This means seeing the best in every person and every event. This means pushing out any thought that doesn’t bring us joy, replacing those thoughts with love, wonder, and empathy. But most of all, keep our thoughts pure by expecting nothing but giving our all.