One cannot, but act. After all, isn’t that regarded as living?
I act, I get into trouble. Verdicts are passed about my actions, that it is right and wrong, whether I ask for it or not. Based on my actions, judgments are made and sentences pronounced that I am a selfish person, etc. That hurts me and makes me feel guilty. Makes me unhappy.
Therefore, can I be without acting? No. Even to maintain the body, one has to act.
Then how to ensure that I always act the rightful way? Bhagavad-gītā, 3.08, Kṛṣṇa says “niyatam kuru karma tvam, karmajyāyo hi akarmaṇah. – do what is to-be-done, for action is better than inaction”.
How do I know what is to-be-done? Śāstra – scriptures are the source – but then reading / understanding / arriving at its purport seems to be a life time endeavor. Can you please give me a simpler thumb rule?
Ok – here you go. I shall give you two.
1 1. Don’t do unto others, what you don’t want done to you, and viceversa.
2. 2. All actions are related to the role. Always remember that you are playing the role. What is to-be-done will always be evident if you remember you are playing the role. What is to-be-done becomes blurred when we confuse the role with the actor, and the actor’s likes and dislikes start influencing what’s to-be-done by the role that he plays.
Am I different from the role? Well, yes, but that’s another topic. 🙂
Reminds me of the great actor Peter Sellers. He had no problem when acting; he did it so well that it was like his first, not second, nature. In real life (I read years ago) he was disoriented, unhappy, and even depressive because he didn’t know who he was supposed to be. Apparently this was not a problem with Marlon Brandon, an equally excellent actor.