The secret of right action is that lasting progress is won not by heroic action but through quiet self-discipline. This principle is the foundation of proper conduct within ourselves, with those with whom we conflict, and within the larger society. It reminds us that genuine gains are made not by showy external effort, but by rooting ourselves firmly in the principles of wisdom.
The world and life are full of hazards, like unknowingly treading on the tail of a tiger. The tiger may be some strong or malevolent force in our personality, or it may be a particularly volatile individual or difficult situation. One avoids the bite of the tiger by treading lightly and carefully: remaining steadfastly innocent and conscientious in our thoughts and actions.
People are on different levels of spiritual understanding. Some are training us in development, while others are far ahead. Our duty is not to condemn or correct others, but simply to continue working on ourselves.
Trying to hasten our progress by aggressive actions toward others just creates more obstacles. Power sought and wielded with pride tends to evaporate just when you need it most. Power arising naturally from steady self-development has lasting influence.
The actual cause of good conditions in our lives is our inner worth, our stock of good karma carefully cultivated over a lifetime. One who perseveres in humility, sincerity and gentleness can go anywhere; even if he treads on the tail of a tiger he will meet with success.
The secret of unexpected good is innocence. The most essential being of each of us is an innocent divine spirit. We can never go wrong if we allow ourselves to be guided by it in every situation.
We obtain the rewards of innocence by actively disengaging our egos. The ego’s desires take us out of the present into an imaginary future. Ambition, anxiety or anticipation are our ego skipping ahead. Anger, judgement and condemnation—whether toward ourselves or others—is our ego clinging to a past that no longer exists. In either case misfortune results, for we miss the clear solution to the present situation.
The guidance of the creative power resides in the present. We become innocent by stilling the ego and accepting life fully as it is. In this state of innocence we are receptive to the help of the creative power and meet with good fortune wherever we go.
Stop looking forward and backward; abandon your ambitions; disengage from judgment and critical thinking. This does not mean becoming passive or dull. The practice of innocence means not indulging a thought, attitude, or action that does not accord with acceptance, equanimity, humility and gentleness.
In other words, because the habit of indulging the ego is strong, you must consciously and actively practice innocence. All of the instructions of the Buddha in his Noble Eightfold Path are aimed at this attainment.