Are we making things worse than they need to be?

Suppose we find ourselves in a place with fading light. Naturally, we will open our eyes wider to find our way. If instead we close our eyes tightly, we will be committing self-sabotage. 

We sometimes commit such self-sabotage internally when we become resentful. Sometimes, our world becomes suddenly dark because of reversals that have come through no apparent fault of ours. When we let such reversals make us resentful, our mind starts obsessing over one question: “Why is this happening to me?” Sometimes, we may not find any answer that makes sense because, after all, we are finite beings living in a complex world. If we still let that question play on endlessly and pointlessly in our mind, resentment takes over our entire mental space. Thus, it closes our inner eye, blinding us to whatever options we still had amid that reversal. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (18.35) reproaches such self-defeating thought-patterns as stubbornly ignorant. 

When our world goes dark, how can we open our eyes wider? By changing our inner question from “Why is this happening to me?” to “Given that this has happened, how can I make things better?” If we consciously repeat this question to ourselves, we will gradually find small things we can do. 

Additionally, Gita wisdom assures us that we can pursue some meaningful purpose through everything that happens. In particular situations confronting us, what that purpose might be and how we can pursue it — that may take time to become manifest, but it will; we just need to keep doing what we can. Through such striving, we will discover layers of resilience we didn’t know we had, thereby becoming better at facing life’s challenges. 

One-sentence summary: 

When reversals darken our world, resentment closes our eyes; strive to open our eyes wider by looking for ways to make things better and we will at least make ourselves better. 

Think it over:

  • When reversals darken our world, how does resentment close our eyes?
  • Amid reversals, how can we make things better?
  • Amid reversals, how can we make ourselves better?

***

18.35: And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness and illusion – such unintelligent determination, O son of Prutha, is in the mode of darkness.

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