Our individuality is meant to lead us towards our spirituality, not away from it
In today’s individualistic culture, people feel, “I want to be who I am. And no one should stop me.”
The intention underlying this feeling is fine, but its expression is often misdirected. We often believe that we can express our individuality by acquiring particular looks, styles, gadgets and other such material things. But do these define who we are? Tomorrow, someone else may acquire those things. Will they become us? Or will we stop being ourselves? Certainly not.
Our individuality ultimately comes not from material things, but from our spiritual core. That core is the soul, which the Bhagavad-gita (15.07) states is eternally a part of God, Krishna.
When we let material things define our notion of expressing our individuality, we undersell ourselves. At best, we bring out dim reflections of our individuality. At worst, we bring out its most distorted aspects. Why? Because materialism often fuels and fans our lower desires, desires that are best eradicated, not expressed.
To bring out the best aspects of our individuality, we need to first act spiritually by practicing bhakti-yoga. Such practice connects us with Krishna, the all-pure Whole, thereby purifying us. That is, our lower desires become weakened and our higher desires become strengthened. Thereafter, when we express ourselves according to our talents and interests, what comes out as our individuality is noble, laudable and inspirational. Indeed, centering our individuality on our spirituality doesn’t lead to our rejecting our material side – it leads to our harmonizing our material side with our spiritual essence and purpose.
Therefore, while practicing bhakti for purifying ourselves, we need to focus on those aspects of our individuality that lead us towards our spirituality. By such selection and expression, we will free ourselves from our worst side and give expression to our best side.
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