Work Without the Expectation of Reward

It is necessary for me to include a spiritual aspect in my management of IBS. Not only does it help to cultivate hope, positive feelings and inner strength, but oftentimes it can provide little bits of advice that can be applied directly to certain struggles that we go through in life. I received the idea of ‘work without the expectation of reward,’ from the famous Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita (which was the most important book in the world according to one Gandhi). In any case, enough with the religious lesson. The way I have found this relates to our work to manage illness is this; we all expect too much, too fast. Further, we expect SOMETHING, simply for making the effort. When our expectations are not met, we become disappointed, dejected and sometimes, despondent. Let us think about the concept of working without reward and how it might be helpful in our battle against IBS.

Expectation of positive results

It is human nature to expect reward for work. Reap what you sow, right? In our society today, I believe that this idea of REWARD may have gotten out of control a bit, due to a lot of factors. This is not simply a matter of greed, it is an overall wish to be appreciated for our efforts and for many, that appreciation comes from a direct positive result from our actions. The problem is that our communities often don’t reward those who deserve it most. I will not make this a political thing. The important point is we all, at very least, want the reward due to us for our private endeavors. Illness however, can throw a big ol’ wrench into that process of work and reward. With IBS, in particular, we scour the web looking for the BEST diet, the BEST workout, doctors, dietitians, therapists. We spend money on these things, we spend time on these things, we spend emotional energy on these things. OF COURSE WE ARE EXPECTING A POSITIVE RESULT. The reality is, we don’t often get what we want. We will go hard and fast, doing everything we think is expected of us and we don’t seem to feel any better and sometimes things get worse. What needs to be accepted is that if you just give up and do nothing, then of course, nothing will change.

Success and failure

When you remove the timeframes, the expectations, the specific results you desire, your attachment to the task will not be as intense. This will allow for a more relaxed mind because you realize you are on a journey. There will be successes followed by failures and failures followed by success. Let yourself off the hook, though. You are doing your best and if you are not, then do a little more. Working without the expectation of reward is an incredibly hard concept to come to terms with, but with contemplation and practice, it very well might take an incredible amount of stress and worry from the daily management of your illness. Just food for thought.

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