The more things spin out of control, the more we need to get our thoughts in control
When a fire breaks out in a crowded place, casualties are caused not so much by the fire itself as by the stampede when panicky people rush towards the nearest exit. In contrast, those who stay calm spot a fire extinguisher and douse the fire, thus minimizing the damage.
When things spin out of control, if we want to address the problem, not aggravate it, then we need to, first and foremost, get our thoughts back in control. The Bhagavad-gita demonstrates such prioritization of inner control amidst outer crisis. Arjuna, on seeing the imminent prospect of a fratricidal war, feels his thoughts going out of control. Recognizing the necessity of getting his thoughts back in control, he turns towards Krishna for guidance. He acknowledges that intensifying the efforts to get outer control, even if successful, won’t solve his problems – even unchallenged sovereignty of the earth or attainment of heavenly prosperity wouldn’t remove his grief (Bhagavad-gita 02.08).
An effective way to control our thoughts is by directing them towards the present through mindfulness-enhancing questions such as: “What exactly is happening? What is the best thing I can do in response?” Despite such questions, what if our paranoid mind keeps going to things not in our control? We need to contemplate the spiritual truth that those things are in Krishna’s control – he is the supreme controller eternally. If we train ourselves to think of him regularly by practicing bhakti-yoga, then that training will prompt us to seek shelter in him even amidst crisis. That divine focus will calm us, thereby helping us regain our intelligence and our perspective.
Amidst disruptions, if we turn towards Krishna, then rather than outer turbulence causing inner turbulence, our inner transcendence will enable intelligent choices that help restore outer order.
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