We need to exercise to not want
This presentation (link) highlights very nicely how, as farmers, we should “forget” to harvest some of our crops for the benefit of the economically vulnerable (Deuteronomy 24:19). Without that, Boas would not have met Ruth and King David (and the Messiah) would not have been possible.
But how do you purposely but unintentionally forget?
The author of that piece suggests the only way to fulfill this is to forget truly and honestly a sheaf, then suddenly to notice, and then not to return to retrieve it, but to leave it for the poor. I see it the other way around.
How I see it may resemble what we do about not being allowed to depict G^d. Idolatry is perhaps the worst Torah sin. But how can we talk to Him without envisioning Him? Don’t we relate to Him as our Father in Heaven, our King, Who Handmade humans and liberated us with a strong Arm?
The Injunction of depicting G^d comes after portraying Him. We’re human and can only relate to something that is, well, relatable. The people who pray to G^d and claim not to depict Him lie. We must. But as soon as we notice that we reduced G^d to merely something from Creation, we must wave away that thought and say: But He’s Beyond that.
Similarly, we must do our best to leave the corners of our fields for the poor. But as soon as we’ve done that, we must ‘forget’ that. It’s not ‘our’ gift to the poor. It’s for the poor to take, no question or thanks asked. (We can’t forget, really, without brain injury, but we may forgo and let go.)
We must train ourselves to do the Commandments, not for a reward. G^d will reward us generously, but that’s His responsibility. Our focus must be on being the best we can be. This because we care, not as an investment for Heavenly prizes. As it says in the Sayings of our Ancestors: The reward for a Commandment is [that we enhanced our life with] a Commandment.
The more we don’t seek reward, the more we’ll get paid. Less is more.
It’s as with modesty. Each time we try to build humility, we miss the point. As soon as we let go of a bit of our ego, we’re getting closer to meekness. When we seek honor, it will flee from us. When we look behind us, if we’re humble enough already, if our fame is following us finally, it runs.
Just like the optometrist who can examine a certain part of our eyes only when we don’t look at the light she shines into it.