The need to protect ourselves is an intrinsic part of our being.
I feel it in myself every time I steer my bike around a certain corner where a few years ago I wiped out because of a sheet of ice. Every time I make that turn, which is quite often, I feel my body tense up a little bit in preparation for a possible wipe out, even though I now automatically slow down on that turn.
This is a pattern that has been deeply grooved into my consciousness. It is called a samskara. Samskara literally means “integrated doings.” These are usually produced by repetitive action over a period of time. In my case, I only fell down once but the action had such a strong impact on me that it has lasted much longer.
Any action will cause a groove.
I notice, for example, that I often tend to go to bed too late. No matter how hard I try to get everything in order for an early bedtime it never happens. This is a samskara. I have to break the pattern in some way that allows me even a little bit more of a chance of successfully getting to bed at a reasonable hour.
We need to perform actions, so how do we do it well and without leaving traces of the actions?
This takes practice and patience.
I find patience is a huge cornerstone that can anchor us in a place of not trying to simply get through the action. Instead, as we do something with patience there is a feeling of honoring the moment-to-moment doing. With that kind of awareness we can do and let go of the action in one shot. We consciously acknowledge what is being done, augment it with our purpose, will and intention, and then allow it to dissolve as it is being manifested. It sounds odd, but if we can do this kind of simultaneous expression and dissolution, we begin to notice that all of our actions are being affected to some degree.
This does not mean tossing actions to the wind in a rather casual manner. It means placing the action in the right place at the right time so that it fulfills its intended purpose and can then be let go.