Action and Inaction, the Two Directions of Transformation

Tapas—one of the Niyamas of 8 Limb Path of Yoga—activities that are part of healthy, fulfilling living—is derived from the Sanskrit verb tap, or “to burn.” It refers to the discipline of burning away physical, energetic, or mental impurities. When you’re tuning into your inner world of feelings and intuition, they can communicate what out of the two directions you may be transforming: expansion or contraction. 

Through internal activism—the process of activating your inner world and acknowledging your feelings—you can consciously choose what direction you wish to evolve. If you're finding yourself denying and/or burying certain feelings, you will change, but in the direction of contraction. Your actions (how you change) and reactions to your feelings (what you change) are, together, what establishes the direction of your transformation.


In this process, it's important to acknowledge that there's a difference between inertia and surrender. Inertia, literally speaking, means remaining unchanged unless an external force interferes. Inertia hopes for continuity for continuity’s sake. In the context of internal growth, inertia is failing to make a choice that facilitates expansion. It can lead you to feel "stuck."
In contrast, being in a state of surrender is being open to the type of change that is spurred by an internal stirring, the type of change that blossoms into expansion. To facilitate transformation the practice of “act and release” is not to become emotionally attached to the outcome of any action. In practice, it works like this:

  1. You allow/encourage/invite yourself to really feel what’s going on inside (honesty).
  2. You notice your feeling and its source and perhaps name it (acknowledgment).
  3. You decide if any action needs to be taken (intention).
  4. Release any expectation of your actions of what will transpire throughout its rippling effect (manifestation).