I am only a Nimitta (Instrument)
Spiritually inclined people say we are but instruments in the hands of the divine. What does this actually mean? Let us try to understand how we can apply this principle in practical terms.
In the above pictures we can see that there are two types of activities that we do. There is one which we enjoy doing and the other we do to complete tasks whether we enjoy or not. Ideally, we should apply the same state of mind and emotions while performing jobs done out of either love or compulsion. This will definitely lead to our mental well-being and spiritual progress. In Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna emphasizes that we can achieve the above by cognitively accepting that we are instruments in the hands of the divine.
tasmāt tvam uttiṣhṭha yaśho labhasva
jitvā śhatrūn bhuṅkṣhva rājyaṁ samṛiddham
mayaivaite nihatāḥ pūrvam eva
nimitta-mātraṁ bhava savya-sāchin।। 11-33 ।।
The contextual meaning of this shloka is - Therefore, arise and attain honour! Conquer your foes and enjoy prosperous ruler-ship. I, and I alone, am doing the work and, you are only an instrument of my work, O expert archer.
Example: Art work
A complete art work is the actual macro task. The macro task. In that there are several micro tasks.
Holding a pen in hand, pointing towards the surface to draw, completing one small drawing at a time and, finally completion of the macro task. Focus your attention on the pen. It is an instrument in your hand. Observe its movement...and the sound it makes.
( Stay with the pen’s activity for a few minutes while it draws).
The pen has neither the opportunity nor the ability to know the macro task. It only knows to perfectly execute the task it is designed to do. The duty of the pen is to draw. No more, no less. Executing the macro task is the responsibility of the owner who holds the instrument, the pen. Instrument does not have feelings of like or dislike, nor the historical memories of tasks performed by it. It has no thoughts and no identity.
Allow yourself to become the pen which doesn’t know and doesn’t care to know its identity. You have become the instrument. The macro task (Leela) is done by the cosmic divine. Now, you are not the cause of the macro task.
You are being made to do the task. You are just the instrument and its still, unperturbed, balanced, thoughtless and emotionless flow. Erase the macro task from your mind. Forget that you are even doing the macro task. Stay immersed in being the pen, the instrument which is performing the micro task. Continue to remain the pen for a while and experience being it.